What is Migraine with Aura?
Migraine auras are sensory symptoms that occur before a migraine attack or headache. Usually, the aura stage lasts for less than one hour. Migraines can be debilitating, but these headaches are not harmful and most people can manage their symptoms with home and medical treatments. To learn more about migraine with aura and the treatment options, continue reading our article!
What is an Aura?
Aura is defined as any sensory changes or disturbances that happen shortly prior to migraine headaches. It can affect your hearing, vision, or ability to speak. Some people also experience tingling or muscle weakness.
These sensory disturbances can be seeing bright dots, sparks, or zig zags. Usually, an aura lasts for about 20-60 minutes. Doctors and researchers are fascinated by auras because it doesn’t occur every migraine attack and only affects some people.
Along with sensory disturbances, migraine aura may cause:
- Fainting or partial paralysis
- Changes in memory
Types of Aura
There are different forms of auras such as visual disturbances, speech or language difficulties, and physical sensations.
People who experience visual auras may experience temporary blindness during a migraine attack. Here are some visual changes associated with migraine with aura:
- Coloured spots
- Flashes of lights
- Tunnel vision
- Stars or sparkles
- Zigzag lines
Speech or Language Difficulties
Some people might find it difficult to communicate with others during a migraine attack. They may mumble or couldn’t find the right words to use.
Some people may experience auras with physical sensations such as numbness and tingling. Physical sensations often start on one side of the body before it slowly spreads to other areas of the body.
These are some examples of physical aura sensations:
- Pins and needles in the legs and arms
- Numbness or tingling
- Muscle weakness
Types of Migraine with Aura
Anyone with an occurring migraine can experience auras. However, there are different types of migraine with auras.
Here are some rare types of migraines that causes auras:
Retinal migraine affects vision in one eye. It can cause temporary blindness and flickering lights in one eye. Most people who experience retinal migraines are under 40 years of age. A family history of retinal migraine increases the risk of developing retinal migraine.
Vestibular migraine is a condition in which the person experiences balance issues, disorientation, and vertigo. Most people who experience this type of migraine with aura have no personal history for headaches.
Migraine with Brainstem Aura
Migraine with brainstem aura is extremely rare. Based on a 2006 study, it only occurs in about 10% of people who experience migraine with aura.
The common symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Doubled vision
This is a rare type of migraine that occurs with or without pain and includes one-sided weakness as well as temporary numbness or paralysis. The weakness usually subsides within 24 hours, but may also last for a couple of days.
What triggers a migraine with aura?
Researchers do not exactly know what causes auras, however it is believed to be caused by a wave of electrical activity that spreads across the cortex of the brain which is followed by a suppression of nerve cell activity. Auras can also be triggered by the same things that trigger a migraine attack including:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Caffeine or alcohol
- Anxiety or stress
- Irregular meals
- Hormonal changes
- Foods such as cured meats, aged cheese, and chocolate
- Food additives
- Bright lights and loud noises
- Strong smells
- Vigorous exercise
Here are some factors that increases the risk of developing migraine with aura:
Is it possible to have an aura without a headache?
Yes! In fact, this is what they call silent migraine. Even though migraine symptoms don't occur, the aura symptoms experienced can be disruptive to daily activities. Migraine headaches without pain are sometimes diagnosed as transient ischemic attacks or seizures.
Treatments and Remedies
Treatment options depend on how often and severe the migraine with aura attacks are. It will also depend on other illnesses you have or medications that you’re taking.
- Acute treatments include migraine specific treatments, over the counter painkillers, and anti-sickness medication. These help manage the symptoms of migraine with aura.
- Preventive treatments include anti-epilepsy drugs, beta-blockers, and tricyclic antidepressants. These medications reduce migraine attacks.
Lifestyle changes can also help prevent onset migraine symptoms. Here are some home remedies you can try to help prevent migraine episodes:
- Eating a balanced and healthy diet
- Deep breathing exercises, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation exercises
- Drinking plenty of water
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine
- Consistent sleep routine
- Avoid migraine triggers
If a person is experiencing recurrent or severe migraine headaches, the most effective prevention is medical treatments.
When to Consult Your Healthcare Provider
People who are experiencing symptoms of migraine with aura should consult their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Here are some symptoms to watch out for:
- Only occur in one eye
- Symptoms lasts longer than one hour
- Symptoms have an immediate onset
In these cases, tests should be performed to rule out more serious conditions such as retinal tear or stroke.
Does Bespoke Biotics Supplements Help with Migraine with Aura?
Migraine with aura can’t be prevented altogether, however, you can reduce the frequency, length, and severity of attacks by taking supplements such as riboflavin, magnesium, and CoQ10.
Here are some of the supplements we offer at Bespoke Biotics:
Mag-Shield Pro - Magnesium Citrate 500 mg
4 per day 2 Morning / 2 Evening
Migrasoothe-B - Riboflavin 400 mg
1 per day
Cor Shield - Coenzyme Q10 - 300Mg
1 per day Morning
If you’ve been taking a certain supplement and haven’t seen any improvement, you may be lacking other important supplements that work synergistically to help improve or prevent migraine headaches.