If you have ever had a migraine attack, you know it is not an ordinary headache. Oh, and the kind with sensory disturbances like kaleidoscope vision, ringing in the ears and tingling in the hands? They are called migraine with aura.
If you’re wondering why you experience a sudden increase in migraine with aura – and how to find mild, sweet relief – you’ve come to the right place.
From anywhere a quarter to a third people who have migraine attacks also have auras. The aura is usually the first sign of an impending attack. Experts let’s say an aura can last from 5 to 60 minutes.
Science divides the symptoms of migraine aura into four types. You might experience any type or all types during a migraine attack with aura.
When most people talk about a migraine aura, they are referring to these visual symptoms.
- sudden blind spots
- like a flash appears in the vision
- jagged lines of bright light
- ringing in the ears
- hearing noises or music that are not there
It usually involves a sudden tingling or tingling sensation in the hands, face, or body.
Some people experience an aura that causes sudden weakness on only one side of the body or face. This super rare aura indicates a hemiplegic migraine.
Some migraine attacks are preceded by slurred speech or difficulty finding and articulating words.
A migraine with aura is not only worse. They even concern experts. Research shows that feeling an aura during your migraine episodes doubles your risk for problems such as ischemic stroke.
The tricky part is that researchers still don’t know why some people experience auras before their migraine attacks. Most theorize that an aura is precipitated by vascular changes or cortical spreading depression – basically a wave of disturbed brain activity – that occurs in certain neurological disorders.
Experts * know * that visual auras originate from the occipital lobe of the brain. The spreading cortical depression could then travel to other parts of the brain, triggering severe pain in the head.
More research is needed to fully understand the link between auras and cortically-spreading depression. While we’re not sure exactly why a person may experience a sudden increase in migraine with aura, we do know that these are common links:
- external triggers
- certain medical conditions
it may be hormonal
If you are a woman who has migraine attacks with aura, hormonal changes could be part of the problem. Research of 2012 found that women tend to have more or more severe migraine episodes during periods of hormonal change:
It could be environmental triggers
Anyone who regularly experiences migraine attacks knows that stress, lack of sleep, and even certain foods can trigger the dreaded pain.
These same factors causing migraine could invite increased auras:
It could be a medical problem
Remember how cortical depression can trigger auras? Well, they are also associated with other neurological disorders.
Any of these conditions or experiences could explain a sudden increase in migraine with aura.
- brain trauma
- brain tumors
- increased migraine attacks in general
A migraine that splits the head is Following that enough, thank you very much. Add an aura and you wonder what you’ve ever done to deserve this (hint: nothing – no one deserves them).
There is still so many we don’t know how migraine with aura occurs, but researchers offer some treatment techniques for migraine attacks in general.
Doctors often recommend ongoing medications for people who suffer from frequent or severe migraine episodes, with or without aura. There are a few different types of preventive drugs. Note that they are prescribed outside the Marketing Authorization (for uses other than their OG objective).
- Beta-blockers. More … than 50 clinical trials confirmed the effectiveness of propranolol against migraine. Metoprolol and timolol are also commonly prescribed.
- Antidepressants. Yes, sometimes antidepressants help with migraine attacks. The drugs include amitriptyline and venlafaxine.
- Anticonvulsants. Designed to prevent seizures, obvi. But valproate and topiramate come to the rescue of some people with migraine with aura.
- Calcium channel blockers. They are meant to lower your blood pressure, but they could also prevent migraine with aura. Verapamil and flunarizine have been prescribed for people with chronic migraine, but recent expert commentary indicates that they may not be as effective as previously thought.
Already in the middle of an aura-meet-headache-meet-cute? Here are some common migraine relief methods.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. If the pain is just * starting, you may be able to stop it with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
- Triptans. Your doctor can prescribe these medicines for you if necessary. Avoid them if you’ve had a stroke, basilar migraine, or severe vascular health issues.
- ER migraine cocktail. These professionally mixed drug combinations are part of an emergency physician’s arsenal for migraine episodes.
Not really. Keep in mind that researchers are still working to determine the exact cause of migraine with aura. It is therefore impossible to recommend a foolproof method of prevention.
But there are * valid migraine remedies for general prevention.
- Keep a schedule. This means regular meals, good sleep habits, and a workout routine designed to help you avoid stress.
- Learn your triggers. Some people find it helpful to keep a headache diary that shows when and where migraine attacks occur, what symptoms you are experiencing, and what foods or medications you ingested just before the attack.
- Build a “migraine kit. “ Carry a small bag of essentials for migraine relief. Keep it in your car, office or bedroom.
- Rethink your diet. Research tells us that foods like chocolate, citrus fruits, wheat, aged cheese, and fermented names can trigger migraine attacks.
- A migraine with aura = a disabling headache + sensory disturbances.
- Experts still don’t understand the exact course of migraine with aura, but certain medications can help manage your symptoms or decrease the frequency of episodes.
- Hormonal changes, external triggers, and new neurological diagnoses can cause a sudden increase in migraine with aura.
- Always tell your doctor if you suddenly start to experience new types of migraine or an unexplained increase in aura attacks.