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Acephalgic Migraine

Though the term “acephalgic migraine” is not listed as a migraine type by the International Headache Society’s ICHD-3 guidelines, it is understood to be a migraine without the debilitating head pain. Women suffer from this type of migraine more often than men. It is also seen in children and sometimes, it tends to run in families.

There are four phases of a migraine attack, but not everyone experiences all four phases of a migraine. Further, each attack can be different for a person who experiences migraines.

The 4 phases of migraine are:

  1. Prodrome
  2. Aura
  3. Headache
  4. Postdrome

So, an acephalgic migraine skips the headache phase.

Other names for acephalgic migraine.

The subtype of Migraine aura, Typical aura without headache, is the most common way doctors describe this type of migraine currently.

Symptoms of acephalgic migraine

  • Vision changes
  • Vertigo
  • Auditory symptoms
  • Migraine aura
  • Symptoms usually build over 10 to 20 minutes
  • Episodes last about an hour
  • Episodes may occur in a flurry with several happening over a week or so

Treatment of acephalgic migraine

Typically acephalgic migraine or migraine aura without headache is not a frequent occurrence. Often they require no treatment and last only a short period of time. Just as with other types of migraine, this type of migraine is diagnosed after other possible causes of the symptoms have been ruled out.


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last revised: August 2014.
Episodic and Chronic Migraine in Children; Seminars in Neurology; Mack; 2006. Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia. 2013;33(9):629-808.