Whenever a person is diagnosed with an illness, more often than not, they’re bombarded with terms that make perfect sense to the doctor, but are complete gibberish to the rest of us.
The word ‘aura’ is regularly used when talking about migraine attacks, but what is it exactly?
Before the headache part of a migraine kicks in, some people will experience warning signs in the build up that tells them pain is on the way. These symptoms are collectively referred to as an ‘aura’.
About 20% of migraine sufferers experience an aura lasting 20-60 minutes before the headache begins.
These signs, which are more intimidating referred to as ‘neurological disturbances,’ usually affect vision and include:
- Zig-zag patterns
- Blind spots
- Flashing lights
It’s important to note that an ‘aura’ doesn’t always present as a visual disturbances. In some cases it can include:
- Pins and needles on one side of the body
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Slurring speech
In people who suffer from migraine attacks with an aura, these symptoms will soon be followed by a migraine-specific headache that lasts from 4-72 hours and should have some or all of the following characteristics:
- Throbbing pain contained to one side of the head
- Pain made worse by normal movement
- Sensitivity to light, sound and smells
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Blurred vision
Many people will take some kind of pain relief when they experience aura symptoms, so that medication has time to work before the headache kicks.
If you suspect you are suffering from migraine attacks, speak to your GP.