If you suffer from migraines, you probably have already heard the term migraine aura. Simply put, An aura is simply the different neurological symptoms that may happen before and during a migraine headache.
According to some specialists, migraines with an aura is usually seen in about 20% to 30% of people with migraines, which means it can be experienced by every 1 out of 5 people.
Migraine auras have been studied by different specialists. Some time ago, they believed that aura was caused by the brain blood vessels constricting. However, their opinions have been changing lately and the new cause that is now being pointed out is the hyper-excitability of the brain cells. This is due to the brain’s own chemistry but that has an effect on the normal perception and senses.
An aura can last between 5 minutes and 2 hours and is completely reversible. Despite some cases where an aura lasts days, weeks or even months, this is a very rare situation.
Those with migraines report their auras are different from person to person. While some say that the headache precedes the aura, for others the headache and aura coincide. There is even a third group of people that state that sometimes they only experience the aura but they have no headache afterward.
If there is something that seems to be true, it is that a person who suffers from a migraine with an aura can also suffer from a migraine without an +aura.
Most people tend to feel some symptoms a couple of days before they have a headache or aura. These first signs of an attack can include tiredness, cravings for certain foods, usually sweets, hyperactivity, a change of mood, excitability, and yawning.
The aura can manifest through a variety of ways. However, the most common one is visual. When you have a visual aura you may see a blind spot in a similar place in both eyes. These spots can be zig-zagging, increase in size, or sparkling. They can also be followed by geometric shapes, flashing lights, or by unusual forms.
Another way for the aura to manifest is through touch. In this case, you may feel a “pins and needles” sensation that will move up across your face, upper back, neck, legs, and arms. After this sensation, you may notice some numbness and this can last up to one hour.
Other types of aura can include some mental confusion, an odd smell, or you might even feel some unusual sensations.
Difficulty with speech can be another one of the symptoms of an aura.