How to Identify Early Signs of a Migraine Attack

An aura is a set of signs and symptoms that occur earlier than or together with a migraine attack. Aura can cause disturbances in your vision, sensation, or speech.

The American Migraine Foundation estimates that between 25 and 30 percent of people with migraine experience aura.

Because an aura can begin earlier than a migraine assault begins, it can often be a warning sign that one is coming.

An aura usually begins approximately an hour earlier than migraine ache begins and lasts less than 60 minutes. Not all migraine assaults contain an aura.

What are the typical signs of migraine aura?

An aura can cause loads of one-of-a-kind signs and symptoms.

Visual symptoms

Visual aura is the maximum common kind of aura. Some signs and symptoms you may revel in throughout a visual aura include:

  • seeing jagged flashes of mild, stars, or bright spots
  • having zigzagging traces or geometric shapes in your field of vision
  • partial vision loss or blind spots (scotomas)

Sensory symptoms

Aura also can cause modifications in sensation. These signs can arise with or without a visual aura.

The essential signs and symptoms of sensory aura are feelings of numbness or tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation.

This tingling sensation may also begin in a single arm and tour upward. This feeling also can occur on one facet of your face, lips, or tongue.

Speech and language signs

Disturbances in speech and language are less common aura symptoms. Symptoms can also consist of:

  • slurred speech
  • mumbling
  • now not being able to shape the proper phrases

Preheadache symptoms and signs

Pre-migraine, additionally called prodrome, is the earliest of 4 levels of a migraine attack. This degree happens earlier than an aura and may occur numerous hours to numerous days earlier than a migraine attack begins.

Recognizing the signs of pre-migraine may additionally assist people to keep away from triggers and save them from an attack. Pre-migraine signs and symptoms may be different for people and may consist of:

  • constipation or diarrhea
  • melancholy
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • mild and sound sensitivity
  • mood modifications
  • nausea
  • neck and shoulder stiffness
  • hassle focusing
  • tiredness


While an aura occurs right earlier than or for the duration of a migraine assault, the prodrome degree can begin days earlier than to signify an assault is approaching. Prodrome symptoms might include fatigue, irritability, or neck pain.

Can you have got an aura without a headache?

It’s viable for an aura to occur without a migraine attack. This is called silent migraine. Although the migraine pain doesn’t arise, the aura symptoms themselves can still be disruptive to everyday sports.

Ocular migraine, a form of migraine assault characterized by visual signs and symptoms, can from time to time occur without pain. Migraine with aura and retinal migraine are sometimes taken into consideration styles of ocular migraine.

Migraine assaults that occur without pain may from time to time be diagnosed as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or seizures because of their comparable symptoms.

What causes or triggers a migraine aura?

It’s no longer nicely understood what exactly the reasons an aura are. It’s believed to be as a result of a wave of electrical activity that spreads across the cortex of the mind.

This wave is then followed by means of an extended suppression of nerve cellular pastime. This can result in numerous changes, like adjustments in blood float, which may also result in migraine symptoms.

It’s also feasible that an aura can be brought on by means of the same matters which could cause migraine assaults without aura. These can encompass:

  • pressure or anxiety
  • not getting enough sleep
  • lacking or having irregular food
  • intake of alcohol or caffeine
  • sure ingredients, like chocolate, elderly cheeses, and cured meats
  • food additives like MSG or aspartame
  • hormonal adjustments, like during menstruation
  • vivid lights, robust smells, or loud noises
  • full of life exercise
  • adjustments within the climate
  • some medicines

What is the quality manner to treat migraine with aura?

When aura signs and symptoms start, it is able to be beneficial to transport them into a quiet, dark room near your eyes.

Placing a chilly compress in your brow or the again of your neck may additionally assist ease resulting migraine ache.

Like other varieties of migraine, treating migraine with aura involves a combination of medicines. These consist of medicines for both prevention and comfort of symptoms.

Preventive medicinal drugs that can forestall migraine attacks from taking place encompass:

  • antidepressants, like amitriptyline
  • blood strain medicines, like beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers
  • anti-seizure tablets, like topiramate

Medications for symptom alleviation help lower the severity of an oncoming migraine assault. They’re normally taken as quickly as the signs of an aura expand.

Examples of a number of those medications are:

  • over-the-counter ache relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • triptans, like rizatriptan and sumatriptan
  • dihydroergotamine
  • anti-nausea medications
  • gepants like ubrogepant (logo call Ubrelvy) or rimegepant (logo name Nurtec)
    detans, like lasmiditan (emblem name Vyepti)

Other opportunity methods of treating migraine also are being investigated. These consist of things like biofeedback, acupuncture, and rest techniques.

Are there distinct forms of migraine attacks?

Numerous different forms of migraine contain neurological signs and symptoms besides aches, like:

  • Migraine with mind stems aura. Also known as basilar migraine, that is a rare form of migraine where aura symptoms originate inside the mind stem. Symptoms can encompass vertigo, ringing inside the ears, and speech problems.
  • Hemiplegic migraine. A migraine assault happens with an aura that includes a one-sided weak point in addition to numbness and tingling. Hemiplegic migraine can arise with or without migraine ache.
  • Vestibular migraine. A situation that consists of unexpected onset of vertigo, disorientation, and stability issues. Many of those who enjoy vestibular migraine haven’t any history of complications.
  • Retinal migraine. The aura associated with retinal migraine causes you to lose imagination and prescient in one eye.

You will also be identified with persistent migraine if you experience migraine signs that arise 15 or more days in a month.

How is migraine aura diagnosed?

Migraine with aura is a clinical analysis. This way the circumstance is commonly recognized via a health practitioner, normally a neurologist, via reviewing your scientific records and an in-depth listing and outline of your symptoms. The doctor may also perform a bodily exam.

The International Classification of Headache Disorders, third version (ICHD-3), consists of suggestions to help diagnose migraine with aura. Individuals should have as a minimum migraine attacks that include the criteria:

  • Having one or extra aura symptoms in these classes:
  • visual or retinal – signs and symptoms that affect sight
  • sensory – symptoms that affect the senses
  • brainstem – symptoms characterized by aches across the returned of the head
  • motor – symptoms that affect movement
  • speech or language – symptoms that affect phrases and speech
  • having as a minimum three of these six traits:
  • one aura symptom or more that spreads regularly over greater than five mins
  • or more symptoms collectively, one after the alternative
  • one or more unilateral aura symptoms
  • one or more positive aura signs and symptoms
  • aura symptom(s) that last five to 60 mins
  • aura along with or accompanied via headache within 60 minutes
  • having no other diagnosis that would reason these signs

Since there’s no definitive take a look at for migraine with aura, neuroimaging checks like MRI or CT scans may not be important for most people. But neuroimaging may be recommended if a character has other symptoms like:

  • head pain that does not reply to treatment
  • changes in quantity, kind, or severity of headaches
  • new neurologic signs
  • unexpected, extreme headache
  • new complications in people over 50 years old or in humans with HIV or cancer
  • signs or symptoms of meningitis like double imaginative and prescient,
  • nausea vomiting, and dizziness
  • signs and symptoms of stroke, like:
  • numbness
  • weak point in the face
  • one-sided weak spot mainly in the arm or leg
  • unexpected onset of confusion, difficulty talking or know-how speech
  • difficulty walking
  • dizziness or lack of stability
  • lack of vision or issue seeing from one or both eye


When to are seeking scientific care for migraine aura

If you haven’t had migraine with aura earlier than and unexpectedly revel in tingling or numbness on one aspect of your frame, or slurred speech or issue speaking, it’s essential to get care proper away.

Although these can be symptoms of a migraine aura, they can also be signs and symptoms of a stroke. You’ll need to rule out the opportunity of getting a much more extreme condition.

Additionally, are trying to find emergency take care of any headache that:

  • comes on abruptly and severely
  • is observed by using a stiff neck, fever, or rash
  • happens with symptoms like confusion, convulsions, or loss of cognizance
  • occurs after a head damage

It’s additionally a very good rule of thumb to make an appointment along with your health practitioner for headaches that:

  • appear regularly and remain from hours to days
  • disrupt your day-by-day activities
  • arise often whilst you used to be headache-unfastened

If you’re concerned approximately your migraine and don’t already have a health practitioner, you may view some to your place via the Healthline FindCare tool.

Migraine sources

Migraine can be disruptive and, in a few instances, take a toll on your daily existence. It can assist to recognise that you’re now not alone and that many different human beings are coping with the same symptoms as you.

If you’re interested in finding migraine help and resources, Migraine Healthline — available on iPhone and Android — provides a network hub for human beings living with migraine.

The bottom line

A migraine aura is characterized by disturbances in your imaginative and prescient, sensation, or speech. It can arise earlier than or throughout a migraine attack and generally lasts less than 60 minutes.

Some human beings may have an aura without a migraine attack.

Migraine with aura may be handled with a mixture of medicinal drugs. Preventive medicinal drugs may additionally forestall migraine signs and symptoms from happening, whilst other medicines can assist ease acute signs once they happen.

The signs and symptoms of an aura can be similar to more extreme situations, like a stroke or seizure. If you haven’t skilled migraine with aura before and have numbness in one facet of your body or trouble with your speech, are looking for instantaneous clinical interest.

It’s also vital to get emergency care if you have a headache that’s excessive, comes on, or is observed by a stiff neck, fever, confusion, or convulsions.