What is an “aura migraine”?

About one-quarter of all migraine sufferers will suffer from migraine with aura, which is sometimes referred to as “Classic Migraine.” In general, you may have heard the word “aura” used to describe a feeling or energy around something. It is used in the same way when discussing migraines.

An aura is a change in sensation, technically a “focal neurologic deficit,” that is usually felt before a migraine occurs, signaling that a migraine is coming. The most common migraine auras involve vision, including blurry vision, sensitivity to bright light and even seeing things that aren’t actually there (like wavy lines or other shapes). But auras can also involve symptoms like nausea, numbness of the face, speech changes, or muscle weakness.

Usually an aura will be felt within hours of a migraine and can be an indicator that a migraine is about to strike. Although typically uncomfortable, a “benefit” of aura can be that it gives the patient time to take medication before a migraine fully attacks to reduce the severity of the migraine symptoms. Some patients may also experience auras that never turn into migraines.

Migraine sufferers may also experience “prodromes” which are similar to auras but differ in a few important ways. Prodromes are also experienced before the migraine, but they can occur hours to days before a migraine strikes. Also, as opposed to neurologic changes, a prodrome involves more general changes in mood or behavior, such as becoming more irritable, tired, or energetic.

Migraine with aura (or prodrome) is generally not treated differently than other migraines. Lifestyle changes, alternative therapies, medications, Botox® and/or surgery can be affective for patients who have auras associated with migraine headaches. Each patient will respond differently to different treatments, whether or not an aura is involved. It is best to be evaluated by a migraine treatment expert to determine which route will be best for you.

Let The Migraine Institute Help You Find Relief

Committed to helping patients find relief, The Migraine Institute is the first center in Los Angeles solely dedicated to alleviating pain from the dreaded migraine. Our team of migraine specialists are pioneers in the field of migraine surgery, and are highly respected by surgeons from around the world. From the first moment you step into The Migraine Institute, our top priority is to take care of you so you can start enjoying life again!

Contact us today to schedule your migraine treatment consultation – 310.461.0303!

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