When someone has a basilar migraine, there is a disturbance in the brainstem or lower part of the brain. Even before the migraine headache begins, the person may experience an ''aura,'' consisting of a variety of symptoms such as dizziness, double vision, and lack of coordination. An aura is a neurological phenomenon that occurs about 10 minutes to 45 minutes before the headache starts.
Basilar migraines are known by several different names:
The symptoms and discomfort from migraines can go far beyond excruciating head pain. Many people who get headaches, especially those who get migraines, also experience vision problems, dizziness, and vertigo.
A basilar migraine can last anywhere from four to 72 hours. It is usually aggravated by performing daily activities. The attacks can be debilitating, leaving a person feeling drained for up to 24 hours after the attack.
Who's at Risk for Basilar Migraines?
Basilar migraines can affect people of all ages. Generally, though, they start in childhood or the teen years. Women are slightly more likely to have basilar migraines than men.
Aura symptoms may last between five minutes and one hour. The headache follows the auras, typically occurring during the time the person is still experiencing the aura or immediately thereafter. People with a basilar migraine generally feel an intense throbbing or pulsating pain on one or both sides of the head. Sometimes, the pain is also felt at the back of the head. Severe vomiting is common.