What You Need to Know About Migraine and Seizures

Early and middle adulthood are the peak years for migraines. Seizures and migraines are debilitating.


Children and adolescents have migraine, too. People in their teens have experienced migraine over at least three months. If you’re suffering from migraine pain, remember you’re not the only one. About adults all over the world live with migraine.

People with Active Epilepsy are Especially Prone to Migraine

Researchers can't fully explain that relationship. They suspect common genetic or environmental variables cause temporary brain function changes. Since the early 1900s, epilepsy and migraine have been linked.

Can Migraine Cause Seizures?

Epilepsy increases the risk of headaches and seizures. This greater vulnerability to both illnesses is unknown.

Possibilities Include

  • Migraines may cause seizures. Migraine aura-triggered seizures are uncommon.

  • Migraines can cause seizures- For instance, migraine aura flashes may cause seizures.

  • Seizures may alter brain function- Chronic seizures may cause migraines due to aberrant brain activity.

  • Genetics may be involved- Mutations may predispose to both illnesses.

  • Epilepsy may cause migraines and non-migraines- Pre-, post-, or during-seizure migraines or other headaches are also conceivable.

Signs of Migraine and Seizure

Migraines and seizures appear to have different symptoms.

Epilepsy and migraine overlap symptoms, especially the aura that precedes a migraine or seizure. Common symptoms include −

  • Vomiting

  • Flashing lights and other visual distortions

  • Light and sound sensitivity

  • Nausea

It is called comorbidity to have both illnesses. It's thought that this happens because epilepsy and migraines are both diseases that come and go and are linked to electrical problems in the brain.

There also seems to be a genetic link between the two. studying DNA changes that cause both migraines and seizures.

Scientists hope that by doing more genetic research, they will be able to figure out how migraines and seizures are linked genetically and find out what causes them and how to treat them.

Migraine Types and Seizures

Depending on the type of migraine you have, there may or may not be a link between seizures and migraine. Read on to find out how seizures and the different types of migraines may be related.

Migraine with aura from the head and seizures

A seizure can sometimes be caused by a migraine with an aura. This is called migralepsy, and it is a rare consequence of migraines. It's not the same as a migraine caused by a seizure. In this case, the migraine is caused by the seizure, not the other way around.

Vestibular Migraine and Seizures

Migraines and inner ear disorders usually produce vertigo. Epilepsy seldom causes dizziness. Due to this mild association, vestibular migraine—which causes vertigo—is often confused with epilepsy.

Vestibular migraine causes most dizziness. However, vestibular migraine does not cause seizures. Only vertigo links vestibular migraine and seizures. Seizures and vestibular migraines don't cause each other.

Though rarely, the type of migraine that may trigger a seizure is a migraine with aura, not vestibular.

Visual migraine comes in three types −

  • Aura-only Migraine - These last less than an hour and feature a visual aura that looks like zigzags. No headaches.

  • Aura Migraine - These headaches have visual auras and headaches. It lasts hours to days.

  • Retinal Migraine - Retinal migraine is rarest. The visual aura appears in only one eye, unlike other ocular migraine attacks.

Migraine aura symptoms may cause epileptic seizures. Not normal. Aura migraines induce seizures. A migraine-induced seizure diagnosis needs the clinician to ascertain which occurred first: the migraine or the seizure.

Especially with migraine and seizure sufferers, these differences are frequently unclear. An electroencephalogram (EEG) may assist, although it's seldom ordered. Migraine seizures usually include symptoms such as −

  • One side of the body getting weaker than the other.

  • Speaking difficulty

  • Diminished consciousness

  • Involuntary movements

Migraine attacks can last hours or days, whereas migraine seizures last only minutes. Hemiplegic migraine and seizures

Risk Factors for Seizures and Migraine

Menstrual cycles increase migraine risk. Epilepsy patients also have increased headaches and migraines. Migraines affect one in three epileptics, according to research.

Anti-epileptic medicines and obesity can also cause headaches and seizures.

Migraine and Seizure Medications

Anti-epileptic medicines (AEDs) may also prevent migraines. Factors which your physician consider before prescribing medications are −

  • Lifestyle

  • Age

  • Type and frequency of your seizures

  • Possibility of pregnancy

Migraine preventative and treatment drugs include −

  • Beta-blockers

  • Antidepressants

  • Triptans

  • Botox

  • Type and frequency of your seizures

  • AEDs

If migraines persist, your doctor may prescribe different drugs.

Whatever regimen you and your doctor choose, you must know how to manage a drug program and what to expect. Lifestyle management helps treat migraines. Relaxation and CBT can assist, and study continues.

It would help if you did the following −

  • Follow prescribed medications.

  • Expect to start low and escalate until the medicine works.

  • Expect symptoms to persist.

  • Wait 4–8 weeks for major benefits.

  • Track the first-two-month benefit. Preventive drugs may improve over time.

  • Write down your medicine use, symptoms, and pain.

  • After 6–12 months of treatment, your doctor may suggest tapering off the drug.

Updated on: 05-May-2023


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