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Diagnosis of Migraine & Headache Types

Aura with or without headache

  • By Devin

    Starting in 2010 I started getting silent migraines every 1-2 months. They would start as a circle of grey with flickering colors and zig zags that would spread into a “c” shape until they would disappear (typically 20 minutes). They went away when I got pregnant with my second son. Since I had him they are coming back about ever 4 weeks or so except now they come with a headache.
    Every single time I get the aura, it scares me so much that I break down in tears and have panic attacks for days after. I was wondering how many of you get the same type of aura I am having and how frequently do you get them?

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Devinann,
    I get auras with my Migraines and they are very similar to how you describe yours. Mine usually last 15-20 minutes and then the serious pain sets in. I know exactly what you mean about having a panic attack when you see one. I think about how the next few days will be affected because of the pain. There’s a great video on You Tube that someone made that depicts their auras:

    As you get older, your Migraines can morph and change. My auras look different now than they did when I was a kid. And your Migraines can also change with pregnancy because of the change in hormones, which is probably why you had relief for a while from them.

    Since your symptoms have changed recently I suggest going to see a doctor, just to rule out any other issues (but these sound pretty typical). You may be able to be put on preventative medications to help manage them. Also, do they usuallly come with your period? They could be hormonal migraines and a change in birth control might help.

    Here are some links for you to check out:
    https://migraine.com/blog/what-is-a-migraine-aura/
    https://migraine.com/blog/hormonal-migraine-the-basics/

    -Katie

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  • By The Migraine Girl Moderator

    devinann,

    Please try not to stress out too much about your aura–sadly, it’s a frequently occurring phenomenon for many migraineurs, and you are NOT alone. Are you scared because you are worried the migraine pain is going to set in, or are you scared because the visual symptoms freak you out? Or neither? In any case, I assure you that this is a totally normal symptom. That said, you should definitely talk with your doctor or migraine specialist sooner than later, as it’s important to tell healthcare providers any time your migraine patterns change.

    To cope with the anxiety you feel regarding your aura and migraine attacks, I’d suggest doing some deep breathing, gentle yoga, and/or mindful meditation. (Here are a few good places to start: https://migraine.com/blog/mindfulness-based-stress-reduction/ & https://migraine.com/blog/meeting-myself-where-i-am-migraines-mindfulness/)

    Here are some articles about aura that might help. In the meantime, I’ll bet some other Migraine.com users will contribute to this discussion you’ve begun.

    https://migraine.com/migraine-aura/visual-aura/
    https://migraine.com/blog/what-is-a-migraine-aura/

    Take care, and let us know how you’re doing.

    -Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

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  • By Devin

    That video is almost exactly what mine looks like, but mine lasts much longer. I don’t get mine during my period, it seems like I do while ovulating. I wonder if that could still be hormonal?
    I saw a neurologist and I asked him “what exactly goes on during an aura?” and he replied that the blood supply is being compromised to your brain. So I said “You are saying it is vascular?” and he said “yes”. I lost all faith in him at that point because new studies show that it is not vascular.
    I just feel so alone because no one I know gets auras. It helps when I hear from other people who also experience these horrible episodes. How often do you get yours? I feel like once a month is too much and I fear they will start coming more frequently.

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  • By Devin

    Thank you The Migraine Girl. You posted that at the same time as my last reply. 🙂
    And what freaks me out is the visual symptoms. The pain sucks, but isn’t as scary as having my vision compromised for a period of time.

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  • By Layla

    Hi, I am new to this forum and so happy I found it! I have lived in panic of a migraine all my life. As a mom, I worried not to be able to care for my kids when “the migraine” would come. I would live in fear of the first symptoms. I cried each time and did this morning out of frustration. I newly started having auras only almost daily (since June). It used to be once or twice a year. I don’t know why and am investigating the problem. While doing so, I tested for sleep apnea and it turns out I have this problem and need to purchase a breathing mask. This may explain a few things such waking up with auras. I noticed that breathing exercises during my auras did help a little. I have surprised myself not breathing for a few seconds. I may start yoga and continue swimming which helps breathing and relaxation. It is so nice to be able to communicate with other Migrainers. I am now looking into my food intake and am taking loads of multiple vitamins and complements: C, D, E, CoQ10, Magnesium, and many more. I used to think I was alone but my late father had them and I remember him lying on the couch asking to be left in peace for “just a little bit”.
    I freak out driving worrying of having an aura. It is debilitating and every time I get out of one, I feel I have to make it up to my family by over doing things “just in case another one comes and interrupts my work”.
    I really would like to make lifestyle changes and look at natural remedies before going into strong medications. I lived on them for 25 years when treating lupus. I might do some botox and check with a neurologist in case I need to do an MRI to exclude an aneurism.I take Aleve occasionally and I stopped Ibuprofen because it no longer works for me. I am taking Sanmigran but I feel it does not do anything. It may have worked for a week. Relpax did nothing. I am on cholesterol and high blood pressure medication. Trying to figure out my triggers is a nightmare! Everything may be one… Who is the lucky person who lives with no stress? The fear of having a migraine stresses me! For moms with kids, I recommend letting your best friend know or someone who is compassionate who does not mind being on call just in case you have one. Take measures of precautions and have a plan if one starts. Post an emergency number in large figures on your fridge and on your fast dial. If you are like me, I cannot see when the aura takes over. If it happens in the car, it is not worth risking your life or others’: stop and wait for it to go away. I have a mask that the airlines give away close by to cover my eyes until my sensitivity to light dissipates. I do what I can and pray for a relief soon.

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Laylafah,
    You have a good game plan for dealing with the daily auras. Deep breathing, dealing with your sleep apnea, taking vitamins and supplements, and monitoring food intake are all a great place to start.
    I encourage you to try yoga too, it will definitely help with deep breathing.

    Since you have Lupus plus sleep apnea, you should consider seeing a neurologist to help you monitor the Migraines. Also, if you are taking meds for high blood pressure, there are certain Migraine meds you should NOT take. A neuro will be more able to help you. Of course seeing a Headache Specialist is the best route. This is a neuro who has specific training to treat the over 300 headache disorders. When you start delving deeply into triggers and trying different treatments, they are the best to help you come up with a plan. You can learn more about Headache Specialists here: https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By texashogdogs

    You explain it to a T. Excatly how mine are. Lil grey spot. Then the zig zag show that turns into a C and then float right out the side of your vision. The last part is the worst for me when they start to go out your vision it seems it effect my vision a lot then they are gone. I might get just a slight head ache afterwords but not bad at all.

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