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Numbness and Tingling

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.

It’s not uncommon to feel numbness or tingling in a small or large area of the body. These symptoms are sometimes associated with sensory aura.

Numbness symptoms may include

  • 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.

In the 2018 In America survey, we asked “What symptoms do you typically experience with your migraine attacks?” Out of the 4,356 respondents, 32% reported sensitivity to touch as part of a migraine symptom.

In the 2018 Migraine in America survey, sensitivity to touch was reported as a lesser known migraine symptoms

Migraine sensation symptoms include

  • 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.

Community experiences of migraine numbness and tingling symptoms advocates write about their various migraine numbness and tingling symptoms. Our advocates who experience hemiplegic migraine attacks have shared that pain can be accompanied by numbness and tingling on one side of the body. Others experience the numbness spreading throughout their body. In this video, one advocate describes tingling and pain in her hand that moved up her arm. It’s always important to talk to your doctor if you experience any new and intensifying symptoms.


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
Prevalence of Migraine headache in the U.S., Stewart, JAMA 1992