Migralepsy is a rare condition in which a migraine is followed by an epileptic seizure within an hour’s time. It is possible one causes the other due to the similarities in signs, symptoms, and how to care for them, including:
- Psychological issues
- Neurological basis
- Autonomic distress
While this can be helpful to know, the similarities involved also can cause them to be misdiagnosed for each other. It is really not known if a migraine triggers a seizure or if a seizure triggers a migraine.
What are the Symptoms of Migralepsy?
- Visualizing animate or geometric forms
- Seeing flashes of light
- Loss of consciousness
Currently, this condition, while being thoroughly researched, remains a mystery among the medical community. Patients have been seen to have had migraines long before beginning to have seizures. In other cases, seizures occur without migraines. This makes finding the origin of migralepsy near to impossible, and it seems to lie somewhere between both conditions. There may also be a genetic link as some have had relatives who have suffered also.
There are certain medical conditions that may cause migralepsy. These include:
- Sturge Weber Syndrome (leptomeningeal angiomatosis)
- Lactic acidosis
- Stroke like episodes (MELAS syndrome)
- Mitochondrial encephalopathy
- Cerebral venous thrombosis
Migraines and epilepsy also share a number of symptoms adding further to the confusion. These are:
- A changed perception reality (Ex: not knowing how things really smell)
- Changes in motor skills
- Visual hallucinations
10 Facts About Migralepsy You Will Want to Know
- The term “migralepsy” was first used by Dr. Douglas Davidson although the condition itself had been alluded to in earlier studies.
- Migralepsy is more common in children than adults.
- Patients with migraines and epilepsy also have a tendency to have chronic depression.
- Migraines and epilepsy share many common triggers such as bright lights, lack of sleep, stress, and certain ingredients in food.
- Due to the similarities in migraines and epilepsy, many specialists prescribe anticonvulsants (ex: Topamax). However, the side effects can be dangerous: dizziness, chronic fatigue, and memory loss.
- Many scientists are under the impression that genetic makeup can determine whether or not one gets migralepsy.
- Epilepsy and migraines both cause such symptoms as loss of muscle control, stomach cramps, extreme exhaustion, slurring of words, loss of consciousness, severe headaches, and vomiting.
- People who have migraines preceded by an aura are 10 times more likely to experience epileptic seizures than those without migraines. This makes up about 6% of migraine patients.
- As many as 16% of epilepsy patients suffering from migraines report their seizures take place mostly before or during a migraine with aura.
- One study about migraines and epilepsy noted there was a 20% increase of migraines in patients with epilepsy versus non-headache patients.
Getting a Diagnosis of Migralepsy
Because of the similarity between migraines and epileptic seizures, particularly the fact that seizures can resemble migraines with aura, it is very difficult for doctors to know which one is happening. To be diagnosed, you would have to have a true migraine followed by a seizure. These symptoms can only be articulated by the patient, and often they become confused especially when the symptoms are so closely related. This leaves a number of physicians being unwilling to consider migralepsy as a real condition. Those who do believe in it tend to over-diagnose.
One thing that has proven to be helpful is an EEG scan because they can differentiate between migraines with auras and auras that are induced by epilepsy. This is more helpful when it comes to epilepsy than to migraines, although they can determine the point when migraines begin and end and how they relate to overlapping epileptic seizures. These scans have been able to find seizures occurring between the aura and headache phase in migraines patients. These have been coined intercalated seizures.
Finding Help for Migraines, Seizures, and Migralepsy
An area seeing much success when it comes to caring for migraines, seizures, and migralepsy is that of upper cervical chiropractic care. This type of care is a specific system of analyzing and then adjusting the upper cervical vertebrae of the spinal column. Proper spinal alignment is vital in this area of the body as these particular vertebrae – the C1 and C2 – can misalign and begin to interfere with the function of the brainstem and spinal cord. These bones – also referred to as the atlas and axis – are the most moveable in the spine, making them more likely to misalign than others. By correcting the tilt of these bones, we are able to help our patients overcome a number of serious health issues, including migraines, seizures, and migralepsy.
One of the major concerns when the atlas or axis is out of alignment is the distortion of vital signals being sent to the brain from all over the body. This means every organ, tissue, or cell that is not getting the right nerve energy and proper communication from the brain can degenerate and suffer.
When visiting our office, we will begin by giving you a very thorough examination that will include precise measurements and the latest imaging techniques to find the location of your misalignment. The doctor then uses a number of gentle corrections to encourage the bones of the neck to realign very carefully. We are not required to pop or crack the neck and do not employ any method that is abrupt or rapid. It only takes few minutes to perform as it takes very little shifting of the bones to relieve nerve pressure. Once adjusted, communication is restored throughout the body and patients report seeing relief from migraines, seizures, and migralepsy in only a few visits.