Migraine Aura: Overview

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents


Migraines are a common condition that affects many young adults around the globe, according to the National Headache Foundation, with women twice as likely as men to suffer from them. The World Health Organization estimates that between 1 billion and 5 billion people worldwide are affected by migraines at least once a month.

The prevalence of migraine has been estimated to be between 5% and 20% in the general population. A family history of migraine is common among people who experience migraine attacks; nearly half of all people who experience migraines have a first-degree relative who has had migraines. According to one study, 25% of migraine patients had a first-degree relative who had a migraine history.

Females are associated with a higher risk of frequent migraines than males, with women being twice as likely as men to develop frequent migraines.

Currently, there is no cure for migraines. However, medications can help prevent or treat headaches in some cases.

What is a migraine aura?

A migraine is a neurological disorder that occurs when the brain experiences an electrical disturbance, resulting in a temporary headache. The pain can be debilitating and be accompanied by nausea, vomiting (nausea), sensitivity to light and sound, and extreme sensitivity to touch.

A migraine aura is a visual phenomenon that occurs during a migraine attack. It is characterized by an aura, which is a neurological phenomenon that accompanies the onset of a headache; and then by a headache. A migraine aura can last from 30 minutes to four hours, and most people will experience it only once per week.

Visual Aura

This aura is associated with visual symptoms. This consists of flashes of light or zigzags in color, flashlights, or sparkles-like symptoms.

Sensory-motor Aura

The person will experience numbness, tingling, or weakness on one side of the body.

Dysphasic Aura

The patient might have difficulty speaking or be unable to speak prior to the attack.

What is the Reason for the Migraine Aura?

It’s not clear what causes migraines, but it’s thought that they are due to an imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters. The most common type of aura involves seeing bright colors or lines.

A migraine aura is not a cause for concern unless it lasts for more than 15 minutes or causes significant distress to the person experiencing it.

A Migraine attack results from the spread of a brain signal from the sensory nerve fibers in the trigeminal nerve to the brain stem. The signal triggers an alteration in blood flow to that area of the brain. So the vasodilationvasodilation of the area might cause increased intracranial pressure , traction of nerves,nerves, and headache.

The triggers of migraine are considered as

  • Food: cheese, chocolate, caffeine, food additives (MSG, aspartame), alcohol
  • Physical changes: hormonal changes, stress, sleep deprivation,dehydration, skipping meals.
  • Environmental changes—strong smells, weather changes, bright lights

certain medications-GTN (vasodialaters)

Migraine Without an Aura

It is possible to have an aura without a headache. An aura is a warning sign that your body is preparing for a migraine. It can be any combination of tingling, numbness or weakness in one or both arms and legs, visual disturbances such as flashing lights or zigzag lines, nausea/vomiting, and changes in mood (for example, feeling euphoric).

Individuals who have auras may also experience more intense headaches, although this is not always the case.

If you do experience an aura but not a headache, it may be because the head pain was caused by something else. (like neck strain or pinching pressure points on your body that weren’t related to the aura at all). As a result, this type of aura is known as “silent migraines.”

But yet, it can mimic a stroke!

Since you areunaware of the possibility unaware of the possibility of identifying a stroke from an aura, it is better to seek help sooner rather than later.

Stroke has the following distinct features from Aura.

  • The body’s weakness might persist for more than 1 hour.
  • The weakness is not diffuse but localized to one side of the body.
  • High blood pressure
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness
  • Seizure

How Do you Describe an Aura?

A migraine aura is a symptom of migraines. It can occur before, or during, a headache.

The aura is a visual disturbance that occurs before the pain of a migraine attack. It can be anything from seeing flashing lights to seeing geometric shapes and zigzagging lines.

While not everyone with migraine aura experiences all the symptoms listed below, the most common ones are described below.

  • Visual disturbance (usually zigzag lines)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Severe throbbing type or pulsating type pain in the head may follow an aura
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity) and phonophobia (sound sensitivity)

A migraine is often preceded by a prodromal period lasting from 1-3 hours where symptoms such as nausea or vomiting may occur. Migraines may also occur without warning signs such as flashing lights or smells or with non-migraine-like symptoms like fatigue or depression.

While these symptoms are often confused with those of a stroke or seizure disorder (especially while they’re occurring), they aren’t related in any way.

How to Identify Migraine?

The diagnosis of migraine is made by ruling out other causes of your symptoms. Your doctor will ask about your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and order blood tests and imaging studies such as MRIs or CT scans for suspected conditions like strokes or tumors.

If you experience any of the migraine symptoms for more than three days in a row, it’s best to see your doctor. They will likely want to do some tests on your blood pressure and heart rate before performing an imaging scan of your brain to make sure there aren’t any issues causing your migraines.

Stroke is the main other differential that need to be ruled out in diagnosing migraine.

Treating Migraine

Migraine is a condition that affects the brain and can make you feel physically sick. The symptoms include headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. It’s one of the most common neurological disorders in adults, but it’s not well understood.

Although migraines can be debilitating, they do not have to last forever! According to research from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there are several ways for people to reduce their risk of long-term effects from these severe headaches:

There are many treatments for migraines, including lifestyle changes (lots of water and sleep), over-the-counter medications, and prescription medications.

Start by taking an inventory of your daily activities to see if any particular trigger causes your headaches. Many recommend using a headache diary for this.

Identify what triggers your migraines and avoid these triggers as much as possible. Some common triggers include certain foods, smells or sounds, bright lights, or certain places (such as bedrooms). For example, if you have a strong reaction to chocolate, it may be best to avoid eating it altogether or simply cut out one piece at a time until you find the best dose of chocolate for you.

Make an appointment with your doctor so they can help identify what medications might work best for your symptoms. They may also suggest lifestyle changes such as limiting caffeine intake or exercising more often than usual during periods when headaches appear more likely than others (such as late afternoon or evening).


Migraine medications work by decreasing the number of chemicals in your brain that causes migraine pain and symptoms.

There are two types of migraine medications available, which can be taken alone or in combination with each other. These include:

Preventive Medications

These medications prevent headaches before they happen by reducing the amount of pain-causing chemicals in your brain.

Triptans (Imitrex-sumatriptan)

Triptans work by blocking serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain. This medication should be taken as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms to prevent the worsening of pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light.

Anticonvulsants (Topiramate, valproate)

These act on glutamate receptors in the brain. This medication can reduce both the number and severity of migraines. It should be taken at bedtime to avoid daytime drowsiness from its side effects.


The drug dihydroergotamine is commonly used to prevent migraine attacks, and it is often used along with triptans. It has been shown to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches by about 50%. In addition, it seems to decrease the severity of headaches as well as the severity of nausea and vomiting associated with them. However, because it can cause a “serotonin syndrome” in some people, it should be used only under a doctor’s supervision.

CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) Antagonists

These drugs work by blocking receptors on cells that would otherwise be activated by CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide), which is an important mediator of migraine pain in many people. For example, they can reduce nausea and vomiting during migraine attacks without causing any other side effects.

Calcium Channel Blockers ( verapamil or diltiazem)

These drugs will constrict vessels and prevent migraine.


These will also constrict the vessels and prevent migraine. Eg -:- Propranolol (Inderal) and Timolol (Timoptic-xe, Istalol, Timoptic)

Pain Relievers

These medications reduce the pain felt during a migraine attack by decreasing inflammation or blocking nerve signals that send signals to your brain.

Migraine pain relievers are drugs that help stop the headache pain of migraines.

They help by reducing the intensity of the pain and reducing the number of attacks you have each month.

Some migraine pain relievers include:

  • Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or naproxen (Aleve)
  • Anti-nausea drugs: These work by preventing nausea from occurring during a migraine attack. Some of these drugs include metoclopramide (Reglan) and prochlorperazine (Compazine).

Home Remedies to Prevent Migraine

  • Rest in a dark room: If you’re feeling pain, lie down and try to get some sleep. Sleeping is a great way to reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of your migraine headaches.
  • Ice-Apply an ice pack to the back of your neck, forehead, and temples. temples. temples. The cold will help reduce the swelling in your head which can help prevent migraines.
  • Herbal supplements: A variety of herbs have been shown to be effective migraine relievers, such as feverfew, ginger root, or valerian root tea (but check with your doctor before taking these).
  • Reduce alcohol and smoking. These can change the brain’s activities and will prevent headaches.

Relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, stress management, and yoga will reduce the frequency of migraines.

When to Visit the Doctor

The main symptom of a migraine is a severe, throbbing headache that lasts from 4 to 72 hours. During this time, the person may experience nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, sensitivity to odors, and/or a sense that something is stuck in the back of the throat.

It’s important to know when to see the doctor for migraines. Because migraines are caused by a complex set of factors—including genetics, hormones, stress levels, and other factors—there are no hard-and-fast rules about when you should see your doctor for treatment.

However, there are some general guidelines for when you should seek medical attention:

If you experience any of these symptoms,

  • Severe headache lasting longer than 4 hours
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakness of the body or slurring of speech that persists for more than an hour

TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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