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What Is A Silent Migraine Headache

What Is Migraine Aura Without Pain

What on Earth is Wrong With Me? | Silent Migraine / Vestibular Migraine | Sick of Reading

Migraine aura without pain includes changes in vision or changes in the other senses and speech but no head pain. Symptoms gradually build over 5 to 20 minutes and then go away after about 1 hour. The lack of head pain sets it apart from other types of migraine with aura. Also, no other disorder can be found to be blamed for the symptoms.1

Some Migraine Treatments Involve Off

Off-label use refers to a medication being prescribed for something other than what it was used for in clinical trials. Somehow doctors began to notice that some patients have fewer migraines on anti-seizure medications. It is important to remember, however, that these drugs have different effects on everyone. Some patients may experience fewer migraines while others may just get the side effects with no real benefits. The medications simply werent designed for this use, so the outcomes are uncertain.

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Causes Of Chronic Silent Migraine

Medical science hasnt yet conclusively figured out why migraines occur, but what we do know is that they may be caused by the difficulty some brains have to adjust to sensory stimulations, such as lights, noise etc. Genetic factors may be a cause, and changes taking place in the brains chemicals and blood flow could also be to blame.

Over time, most chronic migraine sufferers learn to understand what triggers their episodes, and silent migraines are no exception. Individual triggers could be environmental, such as odors, sounds, changes in barometric pressure. Physiological triggers include stress, hunger, too much or too little sleep, hormonal changes, exercise, sinus or neck problems, and eye strain. Fermented foods, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and chemical preservatives found in foods can also trigger a migraine episode.

Medications like oral contraceptives or vasodilators that open the blood vessels can also trigger migraine attacks, because they set off an electrical depression in the brain, resulting in changes in brain activity and blood flow. This usually starts in the occipital lobes at the rear of the head, which are generally accepted as being connected with aura common in migraine sufferers.

Natural Relief For Migraines Is Available

Silent Migraine: 7 Things You Need to Know to Get Relief

Remember that migraines, especially silent migraines or migraine with aura, seem to be related to blood flow to the brain. Well, proper blood flow to the brain is facilitated by the cervical spine. How? The vertebrae in the neck have tiny loops of bone called vertebral foramen. These allow a place for the vertebral arteries to flow through on their way to the brain.

Unfortunately, this means that a misalignment can affect that free flow of blood. It has been noted in numerous migraine and headache patients that an upper cervical subluxation exists. Correcting this misalignment has helped many people in case studies to experience fewer or less severe migraines. Some have even gone from dealing with chronic migraines to being completely migraine-free).

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Silent Migraines May Be Related To Blood Flow The Brain

While the direct cause of migraines has still not been determined, research points to a lack of blood reaching the cerebral cortex. As a result, many doctors classify migraines as neurovascular resulting from a combination of changes in both the nervous and vascular systems. This is especially true if the patient is dealing with aura. Well discuss what can be disrupting blood flow to the brain a little later in our article.

Hormonal Headaches & Menstrual Migraines

Nearly 10% of women may suffer from migraines or tension-type headaches associated with the beginning of menstruation.

Also called period headaches, hormonal headaches are when a drop in hormones leads to headache pain. Because the most common drop in hormones that causes headaches occurs before menstruation, these may also be called menstrual migraines.

The drop in estrogen just before a womans period may contribute to head pain. Many women with a history of migraines report headache pain around the time of menstruation with no other identifiable triggers.

Menstrual migraines may or may not present with aura.

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Migraines Dont Always Accompany A Headache

The difference between migraine and headache becomes clear when one realizes that there are several types of migraines that do not include any head pain. This is possible because migraines are more than just a bad headache. This is a neurological condition. For example, a person may experience a visual migraine or a migraine that begins with aura but doesnt lead to a headache .

Treatments For Silent Migraines

Silent Migraine Medical Course

Silent migraines can be difficult to treat because many migraine medications, such as over-the-counter painkillers or oral triptans, are meant to treat headaches, not aura symptoms. In addition, these medications are relatively slow-acting drugs, and aura symptoms last for less than an hour. By the time these medications kick in, the aura symptoms are already over.

There are no treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically targeting the symptoms of silent migraines after they start. A few small studies have found that magnesium and aspirin are useful in treating migraine aura, as well as the anticonvulsant drug Lamictal .

Some MyMigraineTeam members report success combating auras with magnesium and aspirin. It may sound strange, but my neurologist put me on magnesium and B2 to take at bedtime, a member stated. The magnesium does something. I get auras and took it and the aura let up. According to another member, A neurologist I saw advised me to chew an aspirin when the visual aura started and it would stop the aura. I tried it and it worked for me.

Several preventive medications can help stop aura symptoms from developing in the first place. These medications include antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, and Botox injections. Several types of antidepressants can be prescribed to prevent aura, including Effexor , Prozac , and Zoloft . Anticonvulsants include Topamax , Neurontin , and Depacon .

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How Is Silent Migraine Treated

For disorders, doctors use two types of drugspain relievers and preventive medicines. Pain relievers are not much use for silent migraines since there is no headache . Preventive medicines can be helpful if silent migraines are frequent, last a long time, or interfere with functioning. When silent migraines are infrequent and short, treatment may not be necessary. Keeping a symptom diary can help you and your doctor decide whether to start treatment or not.

Common types of preventive migraine medicines include:

  • Anticonvulsants or antiseizure drugs, which have various effects in the brain

  • Antidepressants, which balance brain chemicals that likely play a role in migraine

Comorbidities And Confused Conditions

You may or may not be aware that having migraine with aura increases the risk of stroke. However, it is important to keep in mind that the overall risk is still very low. For example, there are about 800,000 strokes annually. Half of these strokes occur among women, and 2,000 to 3,000 might be related to migraine, according to Dr. Gretchen Tietjen, the chair of the University of Toledos Department of Neurology. The risk seems to involve those patients who experience aura, and not necessarily those without aura. This is true whether you have the associated headache or not. Additionally, estrogen-containing hormone treatmentsespecially at higher dosesare associated with an even higher stroke risk in aura patients.

Doctors may want to rule out rare presentations of other conditions, like a seizure or other visual patterns associated with migraine. This includes visual snowwhere people see white or black dots in their visual fieldsor other visual symptoms that might not be related to migraine. On a similar note, aura is commonly confused with stroke because they present similarly. One of the biggest differences, however, is that stroke has a sudden onset while aura slowly ramps up.

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The Bright Side: Its Usually Temporary

Its a relief to know that auras are only temporary and the symptoms disappear within an hour. Very rarely though, some people may suffer from continuous auras. That may mean you have them throughout the day or they stick around longer than the norm, explains;John Wall, MD, a clinical neurology professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. If you experience other symptoms such as weakness, vision loss, or numbness, these are some;signs your headache could be something worse;and may require going to the doctor more urgently.

What Is A Silent Migraine

Silent Migraines: My Journey

Silent migraine is a migraine without the headache, but its not as strange as it sounds.

Migraine ismore than just a bad headacheits a whole body experience. Looking at migraine through that lens makes it easier to understand the silent variety: You might have several other symptoms of migraine, such as aura, sensitivity to light, smells, or noise, and nausea or vomiting, but not the traditional throbbing or stabbing head pain typically associated with migraine. There are two classifications of migraine headaches. Classic migraine involves pain and aura, which has negative symptoms or positive symptoms . Common migraine presents with pain, but no aura.

Traditional migraines arent dangerous in themselves, but they can lead to other problems such as dehydration and insomnia, plus they can affect your quality of life .

The same is true for silent migraine, says Medhat Mikhael, MD, a pain management specialist and medical director of the non-operative program at the Spine Health Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, though there is good reason not to ignore episodes of silent migraine.

You want a neurological exam to rule out other problems that cause similar symptoms , he explains. With silent migraine, youre also at higher risk for strokes in the future, so we keep an eye on and follow them closely.

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Risk Factors For Silent Migraines

Though having one or more risk factors doesnt guarantee you will suffer/are suffering from silent migraines, its important to know if you are at a higher risk for them. Youre at an increased risk for silent migraines if you:

  • Have a family history of migraines
  • Are under the age of 40
  • Are a woman
  • Are menstruating, pregnant, or going through menopause

For more information about headache symptoms and treatment options, visit us on the web or give us a call at 964 – 4311.


Distinguishing Silent Migraines From Tmj

Although TMJ can trigger migraines, TMJ is a very different condition from migraines. TMJ and silent migraines can result in many similar symptoms, so they can be confused. Here are some tips for distinguishing the two conditions.

In a silent migraine, symptoms come on suddenly. The symptoms often occur together all at once for a relatively short duration .

Silent migraine may respond to certain triggers, and may follow a predictable pattern.

In TMJ, symptoms can be very long-lasting, going on for days or weeks at a time. They often arent predictable, and some symptoms may come and go while others remain constant.

Of course, the best way to learn whether TMJ may be the cause of your symptoms or may serve as a trigger for your migraines is to be evaluated by a neuromuscular dentist.

To schedule an evaluation, please call 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver.

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Types Of Silent Migraine

Silent migraine attacks may happen in people who experience any of the other migraine types, including:1

  • Migraine without aura
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Because many of the symptoms of silent migraines are the same as the symptoms for stroke or a transient ischemic attack , sometimes called a mini-stroke or aborted stroke, it is very important to see a doctor immediately to diagnose the cause of the symptoms. Ruling out stroke and other more serious disorders is important.

Understanding A Migraine Aura

Classic migraine vs silent migraine

About one-quarter of migraine sufferers experience an auraa visual, sensory, or speech disturbancebefore their migraine. You may see spots, lights, or zigzags, feel numbness or tingling in one arm, or have trouble speaking, notes the American Migraine Foundation. About a half-hour later, the traditional unilateral head pain known as a migraine typically hits.

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Symptoms Of Chronic Silent Migraine

The symptoms of a silent migraine;are almost identical to those of a standard migraine, with the exception of the headache pain. Sufferers report experiencing visual disturbances including flashing lights, halos, or spots of light, blurry or cloudy vision, or seeing dark areas in their field of vision.

Sensory symptoms include numbness and tingling in the extremities, feelings of weakness, vertigo or dizziness, confusion, speech disturbances or loss of hearing. These may also be accompanied by abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Many patients also go through four similar phases as a standard migraine attack, which are:

  • Prodrome phase, during which patients typically feel confused, irritable, tired, or unusually thirsty. They may also experience diarrhea.
  • Aura phase, which can last from a few hours to several days and bring disruptions of vision, language, and mobility.
  • Pain phase, characterized by vomiting and nausea, sensitivity to light, touch, or sound. This is usually the period when the patient also experiences headache pain, but with silent migraines sufferers typically have everything else except that.
  • Postdrome phase, when patients feel drained and exhausted and often experience depression.

Often, the symptoms can last for years at a time. One patient reported having daily aura for 2 years, while another experienced the effects of a migraine attack without the pain constantly for up to 12 years.

They Don’t Give You A Headache

  • Rachel Paskin, 42, from Aldridge, suffers from silent migraines – auras
  • Rarely has headache but bright, flashing line appears across her eyes

19:24 EDT, 6 January 2014 | Updated:

Rachel suffers from aura migraine, which causes her vision to partially disappear for about 20 minutes

Rachel Paskin has suffered from migraines for almost 30 years but rarely has a headache. Instead, a bright, flashing line appears across her eyes, causing her vision to partly disappear.

The 42-year-old has suffered up to five such attacks a day, severely affecting her work and ability to drive.

What she experiences is known as a silent migraine – a type of migraine that comes without the severe headache typically associated with the condition.

Instead, those affected experience visual; disturbance, co-ordination problems, and pins and needles .

‘The first time it happened I was about 14 and thought I was having a stroke or going blind – it was terrifying,’ says Rachel, a Birmingham City University administrator who lives with her husband Neil, 44, a heritage building restorer, in Aldridge, West Midlands.

She saw an optician, who reassured her there was nothing wrong with her eyes, but after doing her own research she realised what was causing her symptoms.

She put up with the silent migraines and realised she would feel OK again after they passed, usually after about 20 minutes – although during that time she couldn’t see properly and her co-ordination was compromised.

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Symptoms Of Silent Migraines

The visual symptoms of an aura include blind spots or temporary blindness, flashing lights, and seeing sparkles, zigzag lines, or colored spots. One MyMigraineTeam member wrote that her migraine symptoms appeared as red lights flashing all around my room … the red flashing continued for a few minutes. Sometimes, it looks more like moving grayish flying shadows. Another wrote, My vision goes to nearly black with purple and green glowing lights that bubble back and forth like a ’70s-era lava lamp.

Other neurological symptoms include dizziness, numbness, tingling, and a feeling of weakness on one side of the body. A MyMigraineTeam member described a physical aura where the outside of my right calf starts aching. Some might describe it as numbness, but I think its pain.

These symptoms can be severe. Last week, I went to the emergency room because the left side of my body became weak and numb. I had a very hard time forming sentences or speaking much at all, a MyMigraineTeam member said. I did not have a stroke, which is what I thought was going on. This morning, the same weakness started again. My face all the way down to my leg feels numb and weak.

How can you tell the difference between a silent migraine and a TIA? It can be difficult, but migraine aura symptoms tend to develop slowly and intensify over time, and TIA symptoms appear all at once.

Ocular Migraines And Aura

Silent Migraine: How To Treat This Silent Killer?

There are two types of migraines that are referred to as ocular migraines. Some people refer to migraines with auras as ocular migraines.

Some people experience an aura approximately 10 to 30 minutes before a migraine sets in. Aura symptoms can include:

  • numbness or tingling in the hands or face
  • feeling mentally foggy or fuzzy
  • disrupted sense of touch, taste, or smell
  • seeing blind spots, shimmering spots, flashing lights, or zig-zag lines

Not all people with migraines will experience auras.

Ocular migraines may also refer to eye-related migraines that come with visual disturbances that may or may not come with a headache pain. These are known as ophthalmic migraines. Ocular migraines can include some or all of the aura symptoms listed above. Ocular migraines are typically the result of migraine activity in the visual cortex of the brain.

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