What about when there is little or no pain?

At 53 years old, my first visual and sensory aura made themselves known to me. Never before in my life had I experienced such a thing and had no preparation for what occurred. In my vision, I had the classic scintillating scotoma. I thought I was either going blind or having a stroke. It passed in 20 minutes, but was immediately followed by tingling in the fingers and then one side of the jaw and the side of the tongue.

Although I could speak, the oral word and the written word were effortful for me to work with. I have never been so frightened in my life, thinking I was losing control of my brain. Since my Dad had a stroke when I was 30, stroke has always been my particular phobia and although I was diagnosed with “migraine with aura“, when it actually happens to me, I go into a panic attack, which makes everything worse. Sometimes a get a bit of a dull headache afterward, but nothing unmanageable, and sometimes no headache at all.

Does anyone else deal with this in a less self-torturing manner? I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for any feedback, suggesting or support! My thoughts are with all of you!

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.

Comments

View Comments (24)
  • Anne Borowski McGuinness
    7 years ago

    Definitely sounds like a CADASIL episode!

  • Jts Alexander
    7 years ago

    Sounds like CADASIL to me (my own diagnosis).

  • Georgia Phelps Robertson
    7 years ago

    I have found that taking Inderal everyday has stopped the aura. I do still get migraines 3-4 a month, but before Inderal I was getting 8-12 a month with the aura. Good luck!

  • Ashley Everhart
    7 years ago

    Oh my gosh me! Thought I was alone. I get numb-tingling, mind becomes foogy, slur my words, bad vertigo, ear pain… Pressure like sensation- then the photo and phono- nausea etc. My anxiety is bad during as well until I get alone in quiet. But mild head pain that can be mostly pressure or briefly sharp. But not my Chief complaint. Mine would be the loosing of my mind!

  • Ashley Paiva
    7 years ago

    Huge Dislike, Mine are pretty much the same way. When I do get an Aura ( numbness on the left side of my face, my tongue, left hand and left foot. My hearing also becomes muffled in my left ear and my vision is off. ) I usually get little to no headache after. I don’t know about you but id much rather take the pain than the Aura , it usually scares the hell out of me. I think its one of those things you block out time after time and forget how scary it is until it happens again and again. It is kind of nice to hear that I’m not alone in it though…

  • Linda Tigar
    7 years ago

    I get silent headaches now & then I feel nausea , loss of appetite.then I get a dull ache on one side of my head I usually take my imitrex & it helps.also I even gag when I brush my teeth @ the time.

  • Ashley Paiva
    7 years ago

    I was always told not to take medicines like imitrex with an Aura , and that it could cause a stroke . So interesting.

  • Chris Barr
    7 years ago

    I have a lot of the same weirdness. Try not to panic, everything that at one time is new and scary becomes less frightening over time. Once a physician had cleared me of any “danger” I just learned that along with all the gifts given in my life, I have some less-than-normal physiology. I keep people close to me who don’t panic when I have to close my eyes for a moment mid sentence or if I suffer “loss of words” or pick the wrong words. Good luck in your journey.

  • Jessica Cohen
    7 years ago

    social worker? 😉

  • Sarah Gearing
    7 years ago

    Don’t touch anything with MSG or aspertame or other artificial sweetners, had a big impact for me!

  • Gail Alison
    7 years ago

    I have the optical migraines almost constantly. I will either have a black spot in the field of my vision, or what I call “shooting stars” in front of one eye or the other. WHen I was on topamax for the headaches, the topamax seemed to make them worse. I don’t have any idea how to control them. I wish I did. The 2 drs I’ve seen for my migraines didn’t have any suggestions for me.

  • Sheran Gertsch
    7 years ago

    I used to get the same stuff. After I had surgery on my sinuses I don’t get the optical migraines as much as I used to. Go see an ENT Dr.

  • Gail Alison
    7 years ago

    Elizabeth, A few things made me stop the topamax. Topamax was causing my hair to fall out. It’s also very hard on your kidneys. I had 2 kidney function tests which pointed towards stage 3 kidney disease, which my dr said is normal in people over 65. And since I still have 15 years to go until I hit 65, I decided that wasn’t acceptable. I also had the increased brain fog. The topamax did help with the headache part, just not the optical migraines. It also helped me lose 10 lbs, but the side effects just weren’t worth it. I’ve increased from 2-3 headaches a month to 2-3 headaches in a week, some lasting for 2-3 days.

    Definitely talk to your dr. about alternatives, if you think it’s not doing anything for you. I hope you find something that helps…

  • Elizabeth Fulginiti-Entrican
    7 years ago

    Gail glad you mentioned the topamax eye disturbance. I am taking topamax and have more eye issues than “whatever normal is” for me. I don’t even know y I am taking it. it doesnt help stop the frequency of my headaches. I’m still trying different meds, none seem to help.

  • Gail Alison
    7 years ago

    My dr told me about an herb that is supposed to help. But then he looked it up online & decided there were too many side effects. I was recently told acupuncture does help & was told the headache clinic at my hmo facility in a different city than the one I went to was really good. So I thought I would try to get into see the drs in the different city. Especially since the dr that I saw was so bad…

  • Scharlyn Neyman Berner
    7 years ago

    DISLIKE!!!!! Have you looked into any homeopathic medicine to see what you can do? Or even maybe some acupuncture??

  • Connie Brown Poindexter
    7 years ago

    I have migraines all the time and have taken just about all the meds out there for them but when they get so bad that I am throwing up nothing works except having to get shots of nubain or Demerol..Now the Dr.’s don’t want to give me any shots so what do you do….just suffer.

  • Kat Monroe
    7 years ago

    my mom has this type, I , on the other hand have very few of the aura signals, and a tremendous amount of pain…I have read that the people who suffer aura type are more likely to have a stroke at some time.. I’m not sure if this is medically accurate or not, but if so, you do have some reason to be concerned…

  • Karen Merryman
    8 years ago

    I had a hysterectomy, kept a migraine journal, then altered my diet, and was put on topamax and neurontin after being hospitalized twice in one month for the same thing. I was also on leave from work for about 90 days.

    i also found that doing my own muscle therapy, using techniques found in these books, using the tools mentioned. this is a very inexpensive solution, and it works amazingly fast.

    http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-Therapy-Workbook-Self-Treatment/dp/1572243759/ref=pd_sim_b_2

    http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-Therapy-Headaches-Migraines/dp/B004R96S60/ref=pd_sim_b_4

    after that I have done well. I was gradually taken off of topamax and neurontin because it caused so much confusion that work was difficult.

    recently I had a migraine that started with the speech difficulties, headache, throwing up, light sensitivity, blindness; you name it. it lasted 3 days, then I was fine. just a few days later I woke up with the paralysis on my right side. not knowing this, I attempted to get up & walk, only to fall very hard on my tile floor. I broke my humerus bone completely in two just below the shoulder. the confusion from the migraine kept me from logically understanding how bad it was, so I got up twice more. on the last fall I saw blood and finally realized how bad it was. I had to call an ambulance which meant lying on my back, pushing myself to my phone. I don’t know how I did it as I was pretty far from it. I had to have surgery to repair my arm, and in addition to the break I had a concussion.

    this happened on 6/16/11. I am still on leave from work for the injuries. I cried a little bit every day, thinking that there was something wrong with my brain until I researched and realized the confusion and shock from the first fall (i laid there for awhile) were why I kept trying to get up.

    in that research I found that the reason for this last migraine was due to Tyramine. This and several other chemicals found in food are triggers for migraines. Before both of those migraines I had drank a few beers and eaten two kinds of deli meats, both of which are not in my usual diet. Not knowing about Tyramine or the foods it is in, I didn’t understand what caused the migraines. I came across the information here, and I am confident I can continue to maintain the migraine problem with the diets suggested. Follow the links and videos for more information. Try it!

    http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/hemiplegic-migraine-headaches-symptoms-causes-treatments?page=2

    http://www.webmd.com/video/fibromyalgia-tissue-bank

    P.S. Although my daughter commented “Mom, pretty soon you won’t be able to eat anything!” I’ll happily live on bread and water as long as I don’t have these HM’s!

  • jojo
    8 years ago

    Thank goodness you mentioned the words scintillating scotoma. I have been reading about my own experiences for years since having my first migraine when I was about 32 years old. I was living in South Africa at the time and was terrified. I had a large black zig zag shape in my right eye and all down my right side went numb from tongue to foot…my daughter was talking to me and I must have spoken gibberish back because I can remember her look of confusion. Strangely enough this attack lasted for a few minutes but it frightened the life out of me and I went straight to my doctor who was around the corner. He diagnosed me as having a Transient Ischaemic Attack and said I would probably not have another one. In the years after that and very spasmodically I had many and varied experiences of migraine and they all included the symptoms you describe. Have just remember that sometimes I would notice a numb patch just under my nose and that would precede the confusion and visual disturbances. I have only ever had one episode of massive head pain and that was due to great stress during an attack normally I just get a dull ache at the top of my head and perhaps a slightly queasy feeling in my stomach. So you are not alone. I tend to think my very rare attacks are due to belated meals (had an attack today when I had my breakfast/brunch at midday)or lack of fluid. So check your diet out and why not keep a diary? At least that way if you do need to check things out with the doc again there will be a written record and you may be able to avoid your migraine triggers in future.Good luck and don’t panic.. it may make the attack more severe!

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    8 years ago

    Hi ProfStarr,

    This type of Migraine is called Acephalgic Migraine – literally, Migraine without a headache. This means that your Migraine attack did not have all the phases… you were having an aura, but did not experience the pain part of the attack. You can read more about the different Migraine phases and Acephalgic Migraine in these links:

    What are the stages of a Migraine attack? http://bit.ly/gq0mdy…Migraine Phases: http://bit.ly/kRjSQ2.
    Migraine Types Overview: http://bit.ly/ke3mfJ.
    Acephalgic Migraine: http://bit.ly/kxOCLX.

    My best advice to you is to see a headache specialist. These are doctors specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of headache disorders and Migraine.

  • Sarah Gearing
    7 years ago

    That is the type I have, it is called Hemiplegic Migraine x

  • Cristina Burnham Anderson
    8 years ago

    my sister gets these types of migraines. that can be very very serious and dangerous. she goes completely numb on one side of her body. when one starts she has to immediately call her husband or our mom to come get her whereever she is cause she can’t drive during it. you have a high risk of stroke w/these types.

  • Casey Lee Snyder
    8 years ago

    If only all migraines were painless..

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