Migraines With Auras or Without Auras: Which Do You Suffer From?
Most people know that migraines are usually severe headaches that can last for a day or more. But did you know that there are two types of migraines? Migraine sufferers can experience the ailment both with and without auras. Do you know which type of migraine you typically get?
Migraines with auras are a more complex problem and come with some additional concerns. Knowing whether you suffer from migraines with or without auras is really important. This will enable you to find the help you need and get the right migraine treatment.
Read on for what you should look out for and what you can do to remedy migraines with and without auras.
What does a migraine with auras feel like?
Migraines are a common affliction, with 20% of men and 40% of women suffering from them. Migraines with and without auras share the same main, classic migraine symptoms. These include:
- A severe headache that may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days
- Head pain that is worsened by movement
- Extreme sensitivity to bright light and/or loud noise
- Nausea or vomiting
This list is not exhaustive. You may have other symptoms associated with your migraines or you may not experience all the above. Migraine symptoms may vary from person to person.
A migraine with auras has additional symptoms. It includes one or more sensory disturbances that usually happen before the headache and other symptoms begin. It is believed that one in five migraine sufferers experience auras for some or all of their migraines.
Let’s explore what an aura is in more detail so you can determine if this might be the kind of migraine you get.
What happens during an aura?
Auras vary quite a lot between people but all involve changes to one or more of your senses. These are some of the most common experiences with auras:
- Disturbances to your vision, such as blind spots, flashing lights, colored spots or wavy lines
- Difficulty getting your words out correctly or not speaking as clearly as you usually do
- Disturbances to your hearing, such as ringing noises in your ears
- Twitching muscles
- Tingling sensations or numbness
- Feeling dizzy or a bit off balance
- Being extra sensitive to smells or tastes.
These aura symptoms will then nearly always be followed by classic migraine symptoms, probably around 20 to 60 minutes after the initial aura symptoms begin.
If you are having any of the sensory disturbances above without the migraine symptoms that follow, then this may indicate a different health issue. It would be best to discuss these symptoms with your doctor.
How does a migraine without auras differ?
A migraine without auras involves only the headache and classic migraine symptoms. You do not get the sensory warning signs that auras bring.
However, many people who experience migraines know when they may be about to get a migraine without getting auras.
Perhaps they may recognize that they have been in contact with their own particular triggers, such as excess alcohol or caffeine consumption, or prolonged exposure to bright lights. Some people also report feeling tired or a bit out of sorts in the time before a migraine. This is known as the prodromal stage and, over time, you may get to identify the feelings as pre-migraine.
What do I need to know about migraines with auras?
Getting auras before a migraine adds a layer of complexity. The aura symptoms themselves are not pleasant. Overall, they make the migraine attack last longer and you feel more unwell.
However, there are more serious concerns if you get migraines with auras.
Several studies have established a link between migraines with auras and an increased risk of experiencing a stroke. The risk is still very low but is around double the risk of somebody who does not get migraines with auras. (Note: People who smoke or have high blood pressure have a greater risk of suffering from a stroke than someone who has migraines with auras.)
With this in mind, you may want to speak with your doctor about reducing your overall risk of stroke. They may suggest lifestyle changes or address any other health issues you have that may also elevate your risk of a stroke, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
How can I get help with migraines?
Treatment plans for migraines with aura will typically include pain relief medication, preventive medication for conditions such as high blood pressure and seizures and stress management.
Here at Evolve Brain Training, we have seen how the use of neurofeedback therapy in our Dubai facility can help alleviate recurring headaches and migraines.
Scientific research has shown that neurofeedback therapy can offer the majority of patients either the complete cessation of migraines or a reduction in frequency. This treatment can be used as an alternative to long-term medications and alongside lifestyle changes that are known to help with migraines, such as better hydration and sleep, and the use of relaxation techniques.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about our gentle, non-medicated treatment for all types of migraine.
Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, a Neurofeedback-centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain's true potential.