This type of headache is a rare form of migraine with aura. The aura symptoms come from the brainstem or both sides of the brain. Whether or not the basilar artery to the back of the brain is involved is uncertain. It most commonly occurs in young adults.
The aura symptoms can include dizziness, double vision, loss of balance, confusion, slurred speech, hearing changes and tingling on both sides of the body. During the attack, some people lose consciousness or pass out. The aura typically lasts less than one hour. Often these patients are mistakenly thought to be intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, or suffering from other conditions. There is usually no weakness associated with these attacks. The headache that follows is typical of migraine headache.
A previous history of migraine is helpful in making the diagnosis.