My first known silent migraine episode

As a migraine advocate who is continually learning about this disease and its intricacies, I have long since heard of “silent migraine.”  I have wondered in passing if I’d ever had a silent migraine attack, but I never gave much thought to it.

Until earlier this month, that is.

Like many female migraine patients, my migraine attacks flare up before and during my period each month.  Like clockwork, here they come a couple of days before my flow—and they are sure to stick around and make their presence known all throughout my long period.  That is, until recently when I tried a new regimen (a prescription muscle relaxer + magnesium before bed each night—I have a different blog post about that in the works and will keep you updated!).

For the last few months, I can’t say my periods have been blissful, exactly (ha: won’t that be the day?!), but they have been much more tolerable because I have had significantly fewer days impacted by migraine. It feels somewhat miraculous compared to what I thought was a lifelong problem of having a multi-day migraine attack while dealing with the inconveniences of my menstrual cycle.  But lately things have been better during what was once seen as a doomed time, and I am grateful.

Toward the end of my most recent period, though, I started feeling really sick.  My stomach was jumpy and upset, and I was dizzy every time I stood.  In a word, I just felt BLAH.  Jim was concerned and asked if maybe I had a migraine coming on.  “I don’t think so,” I said, though his question immediately prompted me to analyze my own symptoms.  Well, I had had a rather stressful day, plus I was getting ready to be done with my period (toward the end of my cycle is when I tend to get a breakthrough migraine even in these miraculous times of new treatment).  I was extra sensitive to noise and light and had been kind of irritable earlier in the day. I was dizzy.

Whoa, I thought.

I think this is what I have heard of.  I think this is “silent migraine.”

Migraine.com describes silent migraine as “…a type of migraine that has many migraine symptoms, yet the head pain is absent. The terms silent migraine and acephalgic migraine refer to a migraine attack which skips the third phase of headache.” (See here for more detail.)  Silent migraine may also be called acephalgic migraine, migraine aura without headache, amigranous migraine, and/or migraine equivalent.

Thanks to my long history of migraine and tendency to learn as much as I can about this illness, I was able to recognize the migraine in disguise and have made a note to talk about it with my neurologist at my next appointment. (It’s always recommended that you talk to your doctor or migraine specialist any time your patterns change.) 

Have you ever had a silent migraine attack? How soon did it take you to realize what was happening?  Do you know anyone who only has migraine without headache? 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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