Unfortunately, seizures and headaches often go together. But what about silent seizure and headache?
Headaches commonly occur after a seizure, sometimes before or even during. Epilepsy may also increase your risk of other headache disorders, such as migraine.
Silent seizures usually refer to one of two things. First, it’s a somewhat outdated term for what we now call absence seizures. Many people are familiar with the older term, petit mal seizures. These are seizures commonly seen in children that last only a few seconds. The child blanks out but does not fall or convulse.
Silent seizure may also refer to seizures that can be seen by an EEG in the brain, but that produce no visible symptoms (although there is some evidence that this type of seizure may affect some brain function). (Read about silent seizure activity in autism)
That being said, having silent seizure with headache (whichever type of “silent seizure” you’re referring to) is not common, if we’re talking about headache as a symptom of the seizure. There should be no headache before, during, or after the seizure. If there is, it may be a sign that there has been a misdiagnosis.
It is common to see headache in another type of childhood epilepsy, called benign epilepsy of childhood with occipital paroxysms (BECOP). The symptoms of BECOP can vary, so you’ll need to discuss symptoms with the doctor and have an EEG done by an expert.
There are some cases where a headache may be the only symptom of a seizure. If you suspect this is the case, as always, an EEG will need to be done to confirm what’s happening in the brain.
So is there any case in which it could be common to have silent seizure with headache? It is possible to have a headache disorder along with absence seizures, for example. The headache attacks probably won’t come right along with the seizure, but may happen at any time.
As with most headaches with seizure, the epilepsy and the headache will be treated separately. For example, if you are diagnosed with migraine, you may take medication for migraine, and for epilepsy. However, in the case of migraine, some medications for epilepsy are used as migraine preventatives. You may be able to take the same medication to treat both, even though you’re treating two different things.
It is very important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor, and keep an eye on when headaches and seizures happen, and what other symptoms may be present.
For more information, read Seizures and Headaches: They Don’t Have to Go Together. Also see Migralepsy Symptoms.