This is the strangest topic with multiple sclerosis because migraines themselves are a very tough thing to medically see and explain. Migraines don’t show up on any MRI, blood work or Cat Scan. Doctor’s go solely on the patients account of the symptoms. The National Multiple Sclerosis Societyhttp://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms/Headache says this about headaches:
Although headache is not a common symptom of MS, some reports suggest that people with MS have an increased incidence of certain types of headache.
One report noted that migraine headaches were more than twice as common in a group of MS patients than in a matched group of people without MS. Other investigators found a prior diagnosis of migraine in one-third of the MS group being studied. A third study found that 20 percent of a sample group of people with MS had a family history of migraine, compared to 10 percent of controls, suggesting that there may be a common predisposing factor to both MS and migraine. Vascular or migraine type headaches have even been reported as the first symptom of MS.
Wasn’t that helpful??? My first AURA appeared about 8-9 years ago. I was driving home from a meeting, sitting in crazy Long Island traffic, and out of the corner of my eye, I was getting an gas like appearance. It was as if I was staring at a gas tank of a BBQ and I could see the gas escaping. However there was no gas. Eventually I had a dark spot where part of my vision was cut but I could still see just had to keep moving my eyes. I could never forget it because of course, I thought, OMG optic neuritis. To my great relief by the time I hit home, it was gone. Maybe 30 minutes later came the headache. After 3-4 episodes like this I told my neurologist. I was told its part of having MS, it’s the swelling of the lesions in the brain. I’ve been on migraine medicine ever since.
I found more information on the verywell sight about ms and headaches https://www.verywell.com/headaches-as-a-symptom-of-multiple-sclerosis-2440798 . They described the cause of the headaches for MS patients like this:
Multiple Sclerosis Lesions: One study looking at people with MS suggested an association between brainstem lesions and an increase in the number of migraines and tension-type headaches. In addition, there are reports of a headache or migraine being the main symptom of a person undergoing an acute MS relapse. That being said, another study in Current Pain and Headache Reports did not find a link between the location or number of MS lesions and people with or without certain types of headaches—so the jury is still out on this precise connection.
Its very hard to understand medically the cause of a migraine. I stopped getting auras and major headaches, after I started a treatment, for many years. Then about 3 years ago I started getting severe migraines that would last days. I’d have headaches 4-5 days in a row. I had relpak to take when migraines got severe, but I got only 9 pills a month. It was horrible. Finally my doctor decided to try topamax(Topiramate) and I was finally headache free, mostly. Lately I’ve been getting auras again though, so my doctor increased my topamax (Topiramate).
I don’t even know how to summarize this ending, there is just no clear correlation between ms and migraines. I don’t even think they have a clear understanding of migraines. I know, personally, that after my first MS attack, I was left with a very large lesion on my brain. That lesion has never got smaller, actually I believe it’s increased over the years. I believe that lesion has something to do with my auras and migraines. I don’t know other family members who really suffered from migraines, other than my daughter (I believe her migraines are caused by her cochlear implants). Then again no one had MS either.