Numbness | Tingling

Migraine numbness or tingling symptoms : an introduction

Migraine symptoms are not always confined to the head. Sometimes there are other parts of the body that are affected by migraines. As changes occur in the brain, different sensations may be felt throughout the body.

A common complaint is a feeling of numbness or tingling in a small or large area of the body. These symptoms are sometimes associated with sensory aura.

Migraine sufferers may experience:

  • Numb fingers
  • Numb face
  • Arm numbness
  • Head numbness
  • Numbness in the lips, tongue or legs
  • Numbness on one side of the body

These sensations of numbness, sometimes called sensory aura, can occur before, during or after the migraine pain begins. Most often the sensations occur on the same side of the body as the pain in the head.

About 15 percent of migraine sufferers experienced numbness in the face and 13 percent felt their leg or arm went numb, in a study of 740 migraine sufferers.

One 1992 study of 47 migraine suffers reported a range of odd sensations.

Sensations included:

  • Numbness in the face, 15 percent
  • Sleeping sensation in the arms or legs, 13 percent

Occasionally, the numbness is so severe the migraine sufferer feels they can’t move that part of the body. The tingling skin sensation may be in only one specific part of the body, such as feeling weak or numb in only one finger, part of a finger or a small portion of the face.


Managing migraine symptoms can be helped by keeping an accurate account of each migraine attack in your migraine journal. Rate the severity of your symptoms, how often they occur and how long they last. This will help determine what your migraine triggers are as well as help you prepare to treat migraines before the pain becomes too severe. Your migraine journal will also help you discuss your symptoms with your migraine specialist.

Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
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