An aura is a neurologic symptom that is associated with a migraine headache either immediately preceding or during a migraine attack. It can last from 5-60 minutes. The most common aura is visual -- seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines or losing part of your vision. However, auras can also be sensory, such as a pins/needles feeling in the hand or face; motor, with weakness of a hand or arm; or involve speech, such as confusing or slurring words.
A Answers (5)
RealAge answeredBefore the onset of headache pain, 10 percent to 20 percent of migraine sufferers experience a 10- to 60-minute aura. An aura is thought to result from the narrowing (constriction) of blood vessels in the brain. The location of the diminished blood supply determines the specific aura symptoms experienced. A migraine aura is usually, but not always, visual. Examples of visual aura symptoms include the following:
- silver streaks
- white lights
- light objects appearing excessively bright
- all objects appearing gray or yellow
- distortion of all linear objects
- dancing and moving cobwebs
- moving black veils
- scintillating picket fences
- silver stars
- heat waves
- flashing gold lights
- Fourth of July sparklers
- zigzag streaks of light
- herringbone patterns
- double vision
- blind spots
Auras may also be experienced as numbness and tingling in the face, arms, or legs. Some migraine sufferers experience weakness, slurred speech, or even brief paralysis.
The aura of migraine headache is a neurologic dysfunction and can encompass or embody any part of the Central Nervous System. You can have a disorder of thinking, vision, hearing, speaking, as well as disorder of smelling. During the migraine headache there can be photophobia (light sensitivity), phonophobia (sound sensitivity), and osmophobia (smelling bad things or having a disorder of smell). This needs to have preventative treatment and not be treated with acute medications.
A migraine aura is a warning sign of an oncoming migraine headache. An aura develops gradually, usually within 30 minutes before a migraine headache starts, and consists of visual disturbances and physical sensations.
Not everyone who suffers from migraines develops an aura. For those who do, common symptoms of a migraine aura include:
- Visual changes. For example:
- Zigzag or wavy lines
- Flashes or sparks of bright or colored lights
- Slowly spreading spots
- Distortions in the shape or size of objects
- Blind or dark spots in the field of vision
- Numbness or a "pins-and-needles" sensation in one hand or the other.
- Tingling or numbness around the mouth and nose or in the arms or shoulders.
- Temporary weakness on one side of the body.
- Brief inability to put words in the proper order, or difficulty finding the right words.
Other, less common symptoms of a migraine aura can occur, including:
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- Visual changes. For example:
Discovery Health answered
Some people get an early warning signal that a migraine is headed their way. Their migraines are preceded by an aura. The auras can be colored or white lights that flicker at the edge of sight, hallucinations, dark or blind spots at the edge of vision, or tingling or numbness-generally in the face or hands. Aura symptoms can start as little as a few minutes, or as long a few days, before the migraine pain is felt.
With some people, there is no aura, but they can experience euphoria or other mild symptoms before the migraine pain begins.