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If you have Chronic Migraine, you have probably heard the words, Status Migrainosus or Status Migraine. They are the most dreaded words in the Migraine community. Other words doctors use is Intractable Migraine and in very basic terms means the migraine will not go away. There is much more to know about Status Migrainosus because it doesn’t always present in the same ways for everyone.
When Does it Become Status Migrainosus?
To get diagnosed the migraine must have last for at least 72 hours but that doesn’t have to be consecutive. Another words, medications may provide relief but it is temporary. The migraine will return as soon as the medication wears off. If this cycle persists for 72 hours or more, it is considered Status Migrainosus.
The symptoms are not necessarily different from your usual migraines except in duration. Although, the symptoms may also be more severe or include different symptoms as well. So, the term Status Migraine is referring to the duration of the migraine, not necessarily the symptoms.
Can Status Migrainosus be Dangerous?
Status Migrainosus is considered a medical emergency because it can lead to a Migrainous Stroke. The symptoms for a Migrainous Stroke are the same as a Stroke except the Stoke occurs during a Migraine Attack.
A Stroke occurs when blood flow is restricted to the brain. This creates damage to areas that control bodily functions. In a Migrainous Stroke, the Migraine is the cause of the restricted blood flow. Because of the prolonged duration of the Status Migraine, the risks are higher for decreased blood flow to the brain.
What is the Treatment?
Treatment is for Status Migrainosus is difficult because of the risk of rebound headache due to overusing medications. In most cases, the treatments a person uses to alleviate a Migraine do not work or only provide temporary relief. Most people that have Status Migraine will find that oral medications do not help. If that is the case, a trip to the Emergency Room is necessary.
My Experience with Status Migrainosus
I have been hospitalized several times because of Status Migraine. The main issue with Hemiplegic MIgraine and Status Migraine is that the Hemiplegia resembles a stroke. This makes the diagnosis of a Migrainous Stroke more difficult. Every time I go to the Emergency Room with a Hemiplegic Migraine, I am put through the strict Stroke protocols.
Currently, I get “Status” so easy that my Doctor has given me injectable medications for home use. I use these to try to stop a migraine before it reaches status. If I have three migraine attacks in a 24 hour period, I use the injectable medication. This has been very successful in keeping me from reaching Status Migraine as often.
If I do have to go the ER, I have a note from my doctor explaining what medications I need. Since none of these are narcotic medications, it has completely changed my treatment by the ER staff. It is very important to educate your medical staff if they try to give you narcotic medications. Narcotics, such as Dilaudid, Percocet and others will only make a migraine worse.
Status Migrainosus can be a serious medical emergency that can cause a Migrainous Stroke. These migraines are difficult to treat and often require a visit to the Emergency Room for Intravenous Medications. These migraines will last at least 72 hours and typical medications do not work or only provide temporary relief.
To learn more about different Migraine issues and symptoms, check out Migraine Explained. This is a series that goes into detail about different migraine symptoms in more detail.