There are many types of migraine, one of them is migraine aura. Migraine aura occurs before or along with a migraine and may cause disturbances in vision, sensation, or speech.

The American Migraine Foundation estimates that 25 to 30 percent of people with migraine experience migraine aura. Migraine aura begins even before a migraine attack begins, often a warning sign that a migraine is about to begin.

Migraine aura usually begins about an hour before the migraine pain begins and lasts less than 60 minutes. Not all types of migraine will necessarily cause you to have a migraine aura.

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  1. Symptoms of Migraine Aura
  2. Can Migraine Aura Occur Without A Headache?
  3. Best Way To Treat Migraine Aura
  4. How Is Migraine Aura Tested?
  5. Summary

Migraine aura can cause a variety of different symptoms. Such as –

  • Visual Symptoms

Visual aura is the most common type of migraine aura. Some of the symptoms you may experience during a visual aura include:

  • seeing jagged flashes of light, stars, or bright spots
  • crooked lines or geometric shapes in your field of vision

  • Partial vision loss or blind spots (scotomas)

  • Sensory Symptoms

Aura can also cause changes in sensation. These symptoms may occur with or without visual aura. The main symptoms of sensory aura are numbness or tingling, or a prickling sensation like "pins and needles". This tingling sensation may start in one arm and move upward. It may also be felt on the face, lips or tongue.

  • Speech And Language Symptoms

Disturbances in speech and language are common symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • slurred speech
  • unclear speech

  • not being able to form words correctly

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Pre-headache Signs And Symptoms

Pre-migraine, also called prodrome, is the earliest of the four stages of a migraine attack. This phase occurs before the aura and may last from several hours to several days before the migraine attack begins.

Recognizing pre-migraine symptoms can help individuals avoid triggers and prevent an attack. Pre-migraine symptoms can vary between individuals and may include:

While migraine aura occurs just before or during a migraine attack, the prodrome phase may begin several days before to signal the arrival of the attack. Prodrome symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, or neck pain.

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It is possible to have migraine aura even without a migraine attack. This is called silent migraine. Although migraine does not cause pain, aura symptoms can interfere with daily activities. Ocular migraine, a type of migraine attack that causes visual symptoms, can sometimes occur without pain.

What Is The Cause Or Trigger Of Migraine Aura?

There are no definitive studies on what exactly causes aura, but it is thought to be caused by a wave of electrical activity that spreads across the cortex of the brain.

After this wave, there is no nerve cell activity for a long time. This can cause various changes, such as changes in blood flow, which can lead to migraine symptoms. These include -

  • stress or anxiety
  • not getting enough sleep

  • not eating or being irregular

  • alcohol or caffeine consumption

  • certain foods, such as chocolate, old cheeses, and cooked meats

  • hormonal changes, such as during menstruation

  • bright light, strong smell, or loud noise

  • too much exercise

  • change in weather

  • some medicines

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When aura symptoms begin, it may be helpful to go to a quiet, dark room and close your eyes. Applying a cold compress to your forehead or the back of your neck can also help ease migraine pain.

Treatment of migraine aura involves a combination of medications. These include medications for both prevention and relief of symptoms. Preventive medications that can prevent migraine attacks from occurring include:

  • antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
  • blood pressure medications, such as beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers

  • topiramate


Medications to relieve symptoms help reduce the severity of an upcoming migraine attack. These can usually be taken only when migraine aura occurs. Examples of some medicines are:


  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)

  • triptans, such as rizatriptan and sumatriptan

  • Dihydroergotamine

  • anti-nausea medications

  • Gepaint such as Ubrogepant (brand name Ubrelvi) or Rimagepant (brand name Nurtec)

  • detains, such as lasmiditan (brand name Vyptee)

Other alternative methods of treating migraine are also being investigated. These include things like biofeedback, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques.

Are There Different Types Of Migraine Attacks?

There are several other types of migraine that include neurological symptoms in addition to pain, such as:


  • Migraine with brainstem aura – Also known as basilar migraine, this is a rare type of migraine where aura symptoms originate in the brain stem. Symptoms may include dizziness, ringing in the ears, and problems with speech.

  • Hemiplegic migraine – migraine attacks that occur with aura that include unilateral weakness as well as numbness and tingling. Hemiplegic migraine can occur with or without migraine pain.

  • Vestibular migraine – a condition that involves sudden dizziness, disorientation and balance problems. Many people who experience vestibular migraine do not have a headache.

  • Retinal migraine – The aura associated with retinal migraine can cause loss of vision in one eye.

If you experience migraine symptoms for 15 or more days in a month, you may be advised to be tested for chronic migraine.

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Migraine with aura is a diagnostic test. This means that the condition is usually diagnosed by a doctor, usually a neurologist, by reviewing your medical history and taking a detailed list and description of your symptoms. The doctor will also do a physical examination.

Since there is no definitive test for migraine with aura, MRI or CT scans are not beneficial for most people, but neuroimaging may be recommended if a person has other symptoms.

When To Seek Medical Care For Migraine Aura

If you have not had migraine with aura before and suddenly experience tingling or numbness on one side of your body, or slurred speech or difficulty talking, it is important to seek care immediately. However, these could be symptoms of migraine aura or they could also be signs of a stroke.

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Migraine aura is characterized by disturbances in your vision, sensation, or speech. This may occur before or during a migraine attack and usually lasts less than 60 minutes. Some people may have an aura without having a migraine attack.

Migraines with aura may be treated with a combination of medications. Preventive medications can prevent migraine symptoms from occurring, while other medications can help reduce acute symptoms once they occur.

Symptoms of aura may resemble those of more serious conditions such as stroke or seizure. If you have not experienced migraine with aura before and you have numbness on one side of your body or you have trouble speaking, seek medical help immediately.

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