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Visual aura associated with migraine attacks.

Aura is classed as any neurological disturbances such as seeing bright dots or lines, a tingly feeling on one side of the body or inability to speak clearly, lasting 20 minutes to an hour prior to a migraine attack!

Types of Aura

There are three types of Aura which people may experience prior to a migraine attack. Some people will only ever experience one type of Aura, where as others may experience more than one at a time, or a different Aura depending on what triggers the attack.

  • Vision Disturbances: seeing spots, lines, flashes, zig zags or spots of blindness
  • Sensory Changes: feelings of tingling or numbness
  • Speech/language difficulties: unable to produce words or slurred speech

These symptoms are not always felt every attack, but when they do occur it can be very frightening and unpleasant for the patient. Treating the migraines is a simple step to help prevent Aura from occurring. Up to 30% of people experiencing migraines will report symptoms of Aura.

Causes of Aura

Aura is thought to be caused by a phenomenon in the brain known as cortical spreading depression (CSD). CSD is local disturbances in brain function featuring local, transient suppression of cortical electrical activity. This spreads over time which contributes to the duration and severity of the aura. In fact, in brains of people who experience aura, there is a temporary loss of homeostasis, or maintenance of chemical balance. This loss results in leaky ion channels, meaning there is a fluctuation from normal ranges of potassium, calcium, and sodium in a way which causes these neurological symptoms. This initial imbalance not only causes the symptoms but results in the triggering of a migraine attack. Re-occurrence of these events, increases the sensitivity of the brain stem and brain, resulting in more frequent migraine attacks.

Treatment

At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinics, the focus of treatment is on de-sensitising the brain stem, to help settle the neurological disturbances caused by this chemical imbalance. The treatment is a medication-free treatment, following the Watson Headache Approach, which has a high success rate when it comes to rapidly reducing the number and severity of headaches, or completely getting rid of them!

Contact us on 1800 HEADACHE to book an appointment with an experienced clinician today, who will help rid you of aura and migraines!

Imagine a life free of pain and frustration!

References:

The Migraine Trust. 2019. Migraine with aura. Retrieved from: https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/types-of-migraine/migraine-with-aura/

American Migraine Foundation. 2019. Understanding Migraine with Aura. Retrieved from: https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/understanding-migraine-aura/