Migraine FAQs: What are the different types of migraine aura?
The different types of migraine aura include:
By far, the most common type of migraine aura is visual aura. Almost 90 percent of people who suffer from migraine with aura complain of visual aura. This type of aura, as the name implies, causes a wide variety of vision changes and visual disturbances. These visual aura symptoms typically occur right before the full-scale migraine attack begins. Many people consider the visual aura symptoms a warning sign or pre-migraine symptom that the migraine is about to strike.
Just as migraine visual aura causes vision changes, sensory aura causes changes in the other senses. Sensory aura symptoms are typically short lived, lasting only a few minutes up to an hour on average. Most patients say the sensory aura symptoms gradually spread from one part of the body to another.
Sometimes this is called a “march” of symptoms. For example, the symptoms may begin in the tips of the fingers and slowly start to spread throughout the arm and then on to another body part. The symptoms of sensory aura usually include numbness, tingling and other “odd” sensations in the limbs, face or throughout the body.
The term “migraine” makes most people think of excruciating, debilitating head pain. And most migraine attacks do include severe head pain as a telltale symptom. However, some people experience migraine aura without pain. These episodes – which are still considered migraine attacks — are characterized and diagnosed by the other symptoms. Migraine aura without pain, also called “migraine equivalent” or ME, has visual symptoms or changes in the other senses that fully go away after a short while. Typically symptoms gradually build up over five to 20 minutes — this is sometimes referred to as the “march” of symptoms — and then go away completely after about an hour. However, what sets it apart from other types of migraines with aura is that no head pain sets in within an hour of the aura symptoms. Also, no other disorder can be found to be blamed for the symptoms.