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Migraine Information (Home) > Types of Migraines > Basilar Artery Migraine

Basilar Artery Migraine

Today, I would like to tell you a little about the Basilar Artery Migraine. Before I get started, I would like to familiarize you with all the other names that this particular migraine can be referred to as. I have made a list of them below for your reference.

1) Bickerstaff’s Migraine
2) Bickerstaff’s Syndrome
3) Vertebrobasilar Syndrome
4) Vertebrobasilar Migraine
5) Vertebro-Vascular Migraine

There are many complications when it comes to the actual diagnosis of this type of migraine because it can easily be misdiagnosed due to the fact that it is so rare. The basilar artery migraine can affect both sexes however it is more active in females.

You should call your doctor if you are experiencing nay of the following symptoms that I have listed below.

1) If you are experiencing three or more headaches a week.
2) If you are experiencing a stiff neck or a fever in addition to a headache.
3) If your headaches begin to affect you after the age of fifty but have never been a problem before that time.

The basilar artery is an artery that is located in the back of the head and serves the part of the brain that includes the visual center and the cerebellum which is also known as the balance center. You may have a basilar artery migraine if you experience double vision, vertigo, or loss of balance. There are many more symptoms that you can look up that will affect you if you are having a basilar artery migraine.

There has been a claim that certain ways that you live may affect how frequent you have migraines. Such triggers that can cause migraines to occur more frequent are listed below for your convenience.

1) Lifestyle triggers
2) Medication triggers
3) Environmental triggers
4) Diet triggers

There is a diet that migraine suffers should follow, so I am going to list a couple of foods that you should avoid.

1) Vinegar, but you can still have white vinegar
2) Onions
3) Chicken Livers
4) Sour Cream
5) Pizza
6) Pork, it is recommended that you eat no more than two or three servings of pork a week
7) Canned Figs
8) Bananas, you should not eat more than half of a banana a day
9) Citrus Fruits, you should limit yourself to only one orange a day
10) Alcohol
11) Chocolate
12) Smoked Foods

All of the foods that I have listed above have been known to be causes of the frequency of which migraines occur. Now I would like to tell you how the environment can affect your migraines.

1) Weather Changes
2) Hot muggy weather
3) Cold snowy weather
4) Bright Days, whether it is cloudy or sunny
5) Loud noises
6) Odors

Medications that can trigger your migraines are as follows: Birth control pills, heartache pain relievers if they are over used, and medications that expand. Lifestyle factors that may contribute to your migraine are, smoking, sex, skipping a meal and stress.

If you think that you may have the basilar artery migraine you need to contact your doctor right away because it can cause you to have a stroke, such strokes normally occur in the brainstem or occipital lobe.

Migraines can be very serious when it all comes down to it. I had migraines as a child and I can remember many of times that I had to go to Charlotte to a doctor there so they could determine what was causing my headaches because the doctor in my home town had tried everything to come up with a solution but nothing worked.

When I got to Charlotte, they still couldn’t find out what was causing my migraines, but they could tell me that I had inherited them form my mother. They put me on medicines and kept making me come for check ups but to his very day, I still have my migraines.

When I get a migraine my head begins to hurt really bad all over and as a result I pass out. Although that sounds terrible it really isn’t because it only happens once in a blue moon but I do know people that experience this a couple of times a week.

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VISITOR COMMENTS on "Basilar Artery Migraine and its Symptoms":

MamaJenny said,
23rd February 07
I was just diagnosed with BAM today! It is quite scary,but I have A wonderful neur doc and she has started me on topamax.I also take 325mg of aspirin to lower my risk of stroke.I'm 32yrs old and have 3 children.My daughter is only 5mths old,so I'm very cautious of my medical care.It was nice to find this site!!!!!!!!!

Jessy said,
25th February 07
5 1/2 years ago, I began having \"atopic like seizures\" with no seizure activity on the EEG. I would pass out without any warning, and be confused and unable to speak afterwards for 5-20 min. (although, in my mind, I was speaking it just didn\'t come out in coherent words). These would be followed by a INTENSE headache/migraine with sensitivity to light, smell and sound that could last 1-24 hours. They occurred once or twice a day for 3 months with rarely having a day they didn\'t occur. Finally saw a great Nuero who diagnosed BAM, after a few trials of meds, finally found relief with Topomax and Verapamil combo. They began spreading out to once per month, then once per 3 months, then... GONE! I eventually stopped meds, because I lost my insurance, and had not had an episode since late 2002. Fast forward 2/3/07, had \"fainting episode\" with high BP after wards, started with dizziness, didn\'t lose conciousness when falling, knew it was happening but could not stop it. ER doc and paramedics said it was anxiety attack or adverse reaction to Advil (for blood thinning purposes). Now... 2/23/07 happened again, followed by severe head \"cramp\" that turned into full blown migraine. This ER doc says it is BAM again, and has referred to Nuero. So scared, because this time I don\'t have insurance. Thought this was over with and didn\'t want to go through it again.... the ER doc is reporting me to DMV, which will likely lead to losing my job, (as it is a 1 hour commute to work). Just needed to vent.....

Annette said,
11th March 07
Just recently seen at a Walk-In-Clinic by my work and was immediately informed that I need to get over to the nearest Emerg. now My symptoms were characteristic of a stroke. Elevated blood pressure, weakness on one side of my body and a severe headache, not able to focus, extreme light sensitivity(like a strobing effect and a halo around every light I saw.) Nauseous to move around and very dizzy. They did the works on me, CT, bloodwork, etc. After spinning around and not improving they dignosed me with Positional Vertigo and hospitalized me with Medication and around the clock observation. I had difficulty with walking, functioning, then they had Physio work with me next, and not able to meet with their demands, I was finally seen by a Neuro and he confirmed it, I was suffering with a rare condition known as BAM. He told me that I may not ever have another episode and put me on a high dose of Gravol and Advil so I could rest in a dark room to recover. My family history consists of migraine sufferers, and my Dad, suffers from TIA attacks(mini strokes). I am home today with my Husband and 2 Sons and I feel very blessed to be so loved by so many people. My Father celebrates 85 years tomorrow and his gift was that I am on the mend now. I will continue to treasure every moment I have on this earth. A very scary experience, not to be taken lightly as my family and I embrace each other. Another word of advice from the Neuro was, don\'t take any medication with triptans in it cause that can bring on a stroke. Thanks for listening. Annette.

Linda said,
21st March 07
I am in the UK my family Dr believes I may have BAM but it hasnt been confirmed yet - have spent a year like this so far it has been hell. Saw a neuro doc after 6 mths waiting he put me on topiramate daily which initially helped ease it but now back to every few days bad attacks and now the vertigo, barley able to stand, slurred speech (I sound drunk) can't remember what happens half the time during attacks :0(( I have two young children to care for and a husband in the Royal Navy at sea - I'm so scared and so far not getting much pratical medical help. I don't know what to do. My Family Dr has referred me to a migraine consultant but I am on the waiting list - I don't know how long I will have to wait. I can't see an end to this? Its so hard trying to explain to people what is wrong?! I always have an underlying headache as well everyday :0s Sorry to go on, like others just needed to vent, at least I'm not alone like I thought.

casey said,
22nd March 07
Almost cried reading these posts. I could have written them myself. It's so rare that even other migriane sufferers cannot always relate!! I've have BAM for years, but was only diagnosed recently. Still cannot find any relief- and I get it about 2-14 days a month, depending...I'm glad to hear verapamil worked for someone- I've been trying it but no ,luck yet.

ren said,
27th March 07
this is what the neurologist suspects i have and i've been put on amitriptyline for it, i'm commenting on this as i havn't seen anyone else that's on this drug for BAM.

Jeff said,
1st April 07
I almost certainly have basilar type migraines (practically everyday for months now) and my neurologist concurs- but my neurologist will not call it basilar "artery" migraine. he says it should be called brainstem migraine or at most basilar type migraine and thinks use of the word "artery" is badly misleading- more on that below (I do believe it is no longer officially called basilar "artery" migraine by the way in the internation classification system that they have for migraines). i have all of the symptoms- dizziness, imbalance, tingling/numbness, all started with a vertigo episode. evolved over time into occassional pressure in head, feeling like lack of blood flow on side of head and back of neck and it just feels like the nerves in my head are damaged- although my doctor says they really aren't. Now I am very sensitive to bright or florescent lights in dark rooms, and I start out every day great in the morning and just deteriorate to where I am very dizzy and unsteady on my feet at night. Anyway- I am on Topamax, slowing increasing dose, and I may be starting to get relief, too early to really tell. Also can't tell if while my head feels better my dizziness, imbalance, tinging/numbness etc. is worse, and whether that is the BM or the Topamax. It could be either based on what I read. Anyway- for what it is worth and this is important- my neurologist would take major issue with the premise of this site- that basilar migraine is the "precursor" to basilar artery stroke. He concedes that certain types of migraines are risk factors for stroke, but he claims the correlation/risk is very small and concentrated in people who smoke, drink heavily or take the pill (I am a male- and my smoking and drinking days are long gone). He says the feeling of poor circulation that I sometimes feel is caused by the migraine malfunction and NOT an artery problem, and that I am not at imminent risk for stroke. At least that's what he's telling me. I've had an MRI and MRA and both suggested I've never had a stroke or TIA and that all of my arteries are clear. There are other articles on the web that suggest that basilar migraines are scary as all hell but not life threatening. About.com has such an article, happy to provide the link if someone is interested. An my neurologist is the director of neurology at the biggest hospital in the county I live in and is a big believer that basilar migraine is misunderstood. I think in the end nobody knows for sure, but please don't read this site and think you are have the early symptoms of a deadly stroke. There are a lot of strong opinions out there who would take major issue with basilar type migraine being a precursor to a basilar artery stroke. That is why, if you go read a highly techinical site like emedicine.com, you will discover that BM is in fact no longer called basilar artery migraine. Hope that helps somebody sleep a little easier for at least one night...

Sheila said,
25th April 07
I was diagnosed this week with Basilar Migraines and spent 2 days in the hospital. I left for work Monday morning, was feeling dizzy and stumbled getting in my car. I made it to the expressway, remember getting on and cars seemed blurry and then remember nothing else for about 25-30 minutes. The next thing I remember was taking an exit from the expressway and having no idea where I was. I was scared to death, managed to pull off the road and call my husband. With his help and the help of coworkers 911 was able to find me and get me to the hospital. I was discharged on neurontin and baby aspirin. Anyone else using these meds.


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