What Does A Migraine Aura Look Like?


Migraine aura is one of the stages of a migraine attack. Around 20-25% of the time, people experience a migraine aura before the “acute” phase, or a migraine attack. Just like an alarm that signals trouble, migraine aura acts as a “natural alert” that lets you know a migraine attack is about to hit. A migraine aura can last up to an hour before the actual headache. The most common symptoms of migraine aura are visual disturbances. However, aura can also involve sensory or olfactory disturbances as well.

What does migraine aura feel like?

Migraine aura feels like an electrical or chemical wave that travels through the visual cortex of the brain, which is responsible for processing visual signals. This wave’s propagation may result in visual hallucinations.

What does visual migraine aura look like?

The most familiar form of visual aura is referred to as a fortification spectrum due to its resemblance to the walls of a medieval fortress. This aura may begin as a small opening of light and then progress into bright geometric lines and shapes in one’s visual field.

Here are some other symptoms of what migraine aura can look like:

1) Blind spots especially when they are trying to read

2) Bright light flashes or streaks of color. Often, these colors appear in circular zig-zag lines

3) Olfactory migraine aura – either smelling things that aren’t there or a heightened sense of smell

4) Double vision

5) Blindness: About 75-80% of people who experience aura experience blindness

6) A visual “fuzz”, like a blank TV channel fuzz. This usually accompanies blindness as well.

Interestingly, the symptoms of migraine aura is quite similar to retinal migraine symptoms.

What does sensory migraine aura feel like?

Some common symptoms of sensory aura involve tingling sensation in one limb. You may also experience numbness across your arm for a few minutes. Sometimes, this numbness can be experienced across your face. It is important to see a doctor when that happens, because this can feel similar with symptoms of other conditions, such as stroke etc.

You may also experience migraine aphasia symptoms. Aphasic aura involves difficulty in speech, putting sentences together etc.

In rare cases, you might experience weakness in your limbs. This is also known as hemiplegic migraine. There are certain inherited forms of hemiplegic migraine, such as familial hemiplegic migraine, which has a huge genetic factor to it. Some of us may even experience momentary problems with speaking. This is known as dysphasic aura. 

Does migraine aura feel the same as migraine prodrome?

Even though migraine aura and migraine prodrome happen before a migraine attack, it is important to know the difference between them as both of these migraine stages look different. While everyone experiences aura and prodrome in different sequences, a migraine prodrome often happens before a migraine aura. Even though migraine aura and migraine prodrome happen before a migraine attack, migraine aura is actually different from migraine prodrome.


Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are important in advancing migraine medication research. If you’re interested in participating in a clinical trial, various resources can help you find relevant studies. These include clinical trial registries, research institutions, patient advocacy groups, and healthcare providers. Additionally, many trials offer compensation for participation, making it a mutually beneficial endeavor. You can find 175 studies (as of 13 June 2023) currently recruiting on this page. If you live in the USA and are using Qulipta and Ubrelvy, you may be interested in a study called COURAGE 2 that Migraine Buddy is conducting for AbbVie, answer a few questions to find out.

What should I do if I experience migraine aura?

Many people who experience migraine attacks say that when you get a migraine aura, it’s better if you take your medication. Some lifestyle adjustments are also helpful in ensuring you stay at the top of your game.

One of the ways to get better control of migraine is to start tracking the migraine symptoms and triggers using a tracking app. This can help you identify certain times of the day when you may experience a migraine. It can also help you to identify what the symptoms look like for you. This is important as the symptoms of a migraine look different for different people.

Can you experience migraine aura without headache?

Unfortunately, you can still experience migraine aura without headache. These phenomenon is also known as silent migraine. While silent migraine isn’t dangerous, it’s still important to keep track of the symptoms of silent migraine so you can better understand your condition.

Migraine tracking is also a good way to control migraine. For example, Migraine Buddy is a free tracking app for all and is used by 3.3 million people. It contains nifty features to help you better control migraine, such as informative and helpful content to enable you to better take control of migraine. You can track migraine symptoms, migraine triggers, and even potential migraine relief methods. With an electronic headache diary like Migraine Buddy, you can have a set of migraine records for your migraine doctor. This will also help you to know what to expect for your migraine doctor appointment. Start tracking your migraine aura now and live the best life you can as a #MigraineWarrior.

Download Migraine Buddy here now!

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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