Medical Q&As

Migraine - diagnosis in question?

My husband who is 48 was recently admitted to hospital after an episode of numbness and tingling in his face and hand (one side only). All tests including brain scan were negative. The doctor said it was probably a migraine type episode, which might or might not appear again. Yet he had no headache. Can you help me to understand this, as I am worried about him? He has mildly elevated blood pressure and is on medication for this.

The fact that your husband’s tests, including the brain scan, have been normal is reassuring. However, I would question if the label “migraine type episode” fully explains what happened. If he had a history of recurrent headache prior to this episode then migraine is a possibility even though he did not have a headache at the time of the attack. On the other hand if he does not have a history of recurrent headache then a TIA (transient ischaemic attack) is a more likely explanation. It is likely that the investigating doctors also checked for that possibility. The kernel of my response is that if your husband did not have a history of recurrent headaches prior to this episode then TIA rather than migraine is a more likely explanation for his symptoms. These matters have probably been covered by the various tests your husband underwent. I would suggest that you and your husband discuss your concerns and this reply with your doctor in order to achieve a better understanding of what happened.