What is Migraine Aura and Why Does it Happen?

migraine aura

Migraine visual disturbance are something I live with often due to migraine aura. This time of year, I easily get fooled by tiny gnats. We have a lovely garden and constantly have fresh fruits and vegetables in our kitchen.  I see small black dots and am uncertain what it is.  My blood pressure runs extremely low so when I stand up, I often see the room closing in and black dots.  But my migraine visual disturbances are different when it comes to migraine with aura. It took me years to figure out my migraine aura is occurring before my migraine attacks.

A migraine aura is a neurological phenomenon that can occur before or during a migraine attack. It involves a range of sensory disturbances that typically develop gradually and usually last for about 20 minutes to an hour. The aura can manifest as various symptoms, such as visual disturbances, sensory changes, and sometimes even motor symptoms.

Migraine Aura

Visual Disturbances

This is the most common type of migraine aura. It can include zigzag lines, shimmering lights, blind spots, or distorted vision. Some people may experience changes in color perception or see flashing lights.

Zig Zag Lines and Dots

My migraine visual disturbances are typically white flashes or zig-zag lines. I typically don’t panic when I see the dots, but it alarms me all the same.  Sometimes I feel like I’m passing out and it stops me in my tracks.  Migraine aura is a symptom of migraine and tells me an attack is coming. I get zig-zag lines in my vision and flashing lights. These little gnats seem to be everywhere but my migraine visual disturbances mostly only come with migraine and I know I need treatment.

Flashing Lights

The flashes of white light or black dots are deceiving.  I remember when I was in high school, I did a cartwheel and started screaming and swinging my arms around because I thought I was being attacked by a swarm of bugs.  In fact, I had had a head rush and it cleared within a few seconds.  The funniest part is that my friends ran screaming away so they never discovered that it was really just me seeing dots. If I can’t laugh at my crazy migraine brain stories, I would cry…..which is a trigger….so I laugh. Although migraine with aura is nothing to laugh at.

Blind Spots

I feel like I’m slightly going crazy all the time. Between the migraine visual aura and precautions of avoiding a migraine I feel like I’m constantly trying to manage my migraine disease.  So am I getting a migraine attack or do I have a bug problem?  I don’t know.  I now just try to casually fan in front of my face and grab onto a counter to brace myself for either.  Bugs, low blood pressure, and auras.  I’d like to exterminate them all. But that’s just part of the adventures of My Migraine Life and all that comes with migraine disease.

Sensory Changes

This can involve tingling or numbness, often starting in the hands and spreading up the arm, or around the face and lips. These sensations can sometimes spread to other parts of the body.

Language and Speech Issues

Some individuals may experience difficulties with language, such as trouble finding the right words, speaking clearly, or understanding language.

This happens to me a ton! My language always crashes before a migraine attack and the quicker the migraine is rising, the harder my speech fails. I stutter, lose words, and can’t answer questions. It’s really hard. When this happens, my family knows to rush me food, because it usually happens when I haven’t eaten, and my medication. I sit down and wait for it to kick in. It’s really scary!

Motor Symptoms

Although less common, some people might experience motor symptoms during a migraine aura, such as weakness or difficulty moving certain body parts.

migraine aura symptoms

Migraine with Aura

It’s important to note that not everyone with migraine experiences an aura. Migraine auras are more common in people with migraine with aura (formerly known as “classic migraine”) as opposed to those with migraine without aura (formerly known as “common migraine”).

The exact cause of migraine auras is not fully understood, but they are thought to result from temporary changes in brain activity. One widely accepted theory is the “cortical spreading depression” theory. According to this theory, there is a wave of altered electrical activity that moves slowly across the visual cortex and other parts of the brain, leading to the various sensory disturbances associated with aura.

Migraine Auras

Genetics and certain triggers are believed to contribute to the development of migraine and auras. Common triggers include stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, lack of sleep, and environmental factors. Changes in blood flow and the release of neurotransmitters in the brain are also thought to play a role in both the aura and the subsequent migraine attack.

It’s important to seek medical advice if you experience migraine auras, especially if they are severe, frequent, or disrupting your daily life. A healthcare professional can provide proper diagnosis, advice on managing symptoms, and recommend treatments to help prevent or alleviate migraine disease.

Did you know you can have aura without migraine?

Learn here 

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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.
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1 Comment

  1. mymigrainelife on September 15, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Reblogged this on My Migraine Life.

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