Sunday, July 3, 2022
HomeExclusiveWhat Is Migraine Without Aura

What Is Migraine Without Aura

Our Free Guide Gives You 5 Tools For Every Day Migraine Prevention

Visual migraine aura with or without headache – Video abstract: 30999

Holly Hazen is the creator of Migraine Savvy. Her guidance is guaranteed to give you more confidence in your ability to prepare for that next attack and recover faster. Learning resilience and coping skills now will pay off forever!

If you like this article, please share it on your favorite social channels…

Diagnosing Migraine Without Aura

Migraine without aura is diagnosed using the persons description of their symptoms. This is why keeping a migraine diary can be so helpful in finding treatments and understanding your own triggers. The International Headache Society says that to be diagnosed with migraine without aura the person should have 5 or more attacks that have the symptoms of a migraine.1

One key difference between migraines and headaches is that a migraine can include head pain plus other symptoms, while a headache is usually just head pain. Diagnosing any type of migraine including migraine without aura can be hard because of the wide range of symptoms that mimic other conditions, such as stroke or seizures.

Are They Treated Differently

Not really. Experts aren’t sure what causes auras, so there’s nothing special you can do about them. It’s about treating the migraine symptoms and preventing more attacks.

To prevent migraines:

Medications. If other treatments donât work and you have 4 or more migraine days a month, your doctor may suggest preventive medicines. You take these regularly to make headaches less severe or less frequent. They include seizure medicines, blood pressure medicines , and some antidepressants. CGRP inhibitors are a new class of preventive medicine that your doctor may recommend if other medicines donât help.

Keep a headache diary. It will help you spot things that might trigger your migraines. Diary entries should include things like the date and time of your headache, any foods you had eaten, what you did, and medication you took just before the headache began. It may take 6 to 8 weeks or longer to begin to see patterns and triggers.

Avoid common food triggers. Use information from your diary and from trial and error to figure out if any of these foods might be causing your migraines:

The Migraine Association of Ireland: “Migraine Without Aura,” “Migraine With Aura.”



Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of S Migraine

Learn More About Migraine Aura Without Headache Why You Should Visit A Doctor And Available Treatment Options

A small percentage of people with migraine experience an aura that is not followed by head pain. Migraine aura without headache is fairly uncommon and can be hard to distinguish from other visual disturbances, so we reached out to Dr. Kathleen Digre to learn more.

Dr. Digre is a distinguished professor of neurology and ophthalmology and director of the Headache Clinic at the University of Utah. She is also the immediate past president of the American Headache Society and a former president of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society.

Signs You Have Retinal Migraine

What causes migraine aura without headache ?

A diagnosis of retinal migraine may be more and more common, but theres still confusion over what exactly it is. ;There are five signs that you can use to tell if you have retinal migraine, but dont miss the important warning at the end

  • One eye: ;First, the eye symptoms tend to be monocular, meaning theyre only in one eye.
  • Visual disturbances: ;So whats going on in this one eye? ;There are a variety of disturbances which other migraine sufferers may be familiar with. ;This might include flashing lights, or patterns in your visual field. ;There may be an area where your vision is impaired , or even loss. ;Even blindness in one eye is possible with retinal migraine.
  • Temporary: ;Permanent vision loss is another matter. ;With retinal migraine the symptoms are reversible.
  • Headache: ;A headache typically starts during the visual disturbances, or within an hour after they stop. ;The headache typically lasts between 4 hours and 3 days, is often one-sided and pulsating, and usually either includes sensitivity to light and/or sound, nausea, or both. ;There is an increasing body of evidence showing cases of retinal migraine without headache as well.; There is an argument that the âheadacheâ not be necessary for a diagnosis of retinal migraine, but usually its still included.
  • Repeated: ;In order to actually be diagnosed with retinal migraine, you need to have had at least 2 attacks.
  • Recommended Reading: Piercing Ear To Prevent Migraines

    Treatment Options For Migraine

    Once youve been diagnosed, there are no special therapies to treat migraine-related visual disturbances, outside of your regular migraine treatments. Since the vision problems usually dont last very long, patients often choose not to treat them specifically. By keeping a record of your migraine attacks and triggers you can learn to recognize when a headache is likely to follow visual problems, and use the onset of these as an advance warning. That could give you the opportunity to take over-the-counter painkillers or migraine medication before the pain strikes, hopefully reducing its intensity.

    If you experience visual disturbances regularly that are not accompanied by a headache, see an ophthalmologist and your primary care doctor to rule out optical or other medical conditions that could be serious.

    Combined Treatment For Migraine

    Quality statement


    Quality measure


    Data source:


    Data source:

    What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare practitioners and commissioners

    Service providersHealthcare practitionersCommissioners

    What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

    People with migraine

    Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

    Use of triptansNSAIDs, paracetamol and some triptans

    Equality and diversity considerations

    Read Also: How Does Elavil Work For Migraines

    Results From Functional Neuroimaging

    Brain activity during rest and task performance can be described non-invasively by measuring the blood oxygen level dependent signal with functional MRI. Traditional fMRI studies compare signal differences in various phases of a task, but recently, there has also been a growing interest in studying brain activity patterns during rest. Interestingly, remote areas show synchronous activity, which renders resting state activity into functional networks . Although fMRI parameters remain basically the same, we are witnessing a rapid development in the statistical analysis of fMRI scans.

    Two publications confirmed brain activation differences between MWA and MWoA in the interictal phase . Datta et al. described higher BOLD response in migraine in response to visual stimuli in a BOLD fMRI study. This higher BOLD response was more robust in MWA than in MWoA patients. Interestingly the resting perfusion parameters of the two groups was not different, hence the authors discussed their finding in the light of the existing evidences that it relates to hyperresponsiveness of the visual cortex in MWA. On the contrary, resting brain perfusion did not differ between patients and controls or between MWA and MWoA patients . In a considerably larger cohort Cucchiara et al. found similarly greater BOLD amplitude in the visual cortex in MWA that positively correlated with visual discomfort score. No such correlation was found in MWoA .

    Other Names For Migraine Without Aura

    Is Your Headache a Migraine Without Aura?

    Migraine without aura may be called many other names. A few people feel migraine pain in their face rather than other parts of the head. This may be called a facial migraine.2

    Many women find their migraine attacks are tied to their menstrual cycle. This may be called pure menstrual migraine or menstrually related migraine.2

    People with frequent migraine attacks are said to have chronic migraines. Frequent means the person spends 15 or more days a month with head pain for 3 months or longer.2

    A migraine that lasts more than 3 days is called status migrainosus.3

    Recommended Reading: Headache Diagnosis Quiz

    What About Ophthalmoplegic Migraines

    Ophthalmoplegic migraine is a rare condition, previously classified as a variant of migraine. They are no longer considered anything to do with auras and migraines.

    Recent observations from magnetic resonance imaging have given rise to speculation that this illness is more likely to represent an inflammatory cranial neuropathy. The recent revision of the International Headache Classification has reclassified ophthalmoplegic migraine from a subtype of migraine to the category of neuralgia.

    This neuralgia causes pressure on the nerves behind the eye that causes pain around the eye, and can also cause paralysis in the muscles surrounding the eye.

    Other common symptoms include double vision, or other vision changes, with a droopy eyelid as a more significant warning symptom.

    Treating Migraine Aura Without Headache

    When migraine aura without headache is frequent or severe, your doctor can recommend treatment options, such as low dose aspirin, calcium channel blockers or other medications.

    My favorite treatment has been baby aspirin, if they dont have any contraindication for baby aspirin, says Dr. Digre. Calcium channel blockers often will treat aura without headache if its frequent.

    For people who experience onset of migraine aura later in life, the symptoms can be very severe and last for several days. In that case, Dr. Digre usually prescribes a calcium channel blocker, but other medications can be used.

    There arent any specific lifestyle adjustments to treat migraine aura without headache. However, taking steps like getting adequate sleep, decreasing stress and avoiding known migraine triggers may help prevent aura without headache.

    The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.

    Font Size

    You May Like: Cream Of Tartar Headache

    A To Z: Migraine Without Aura

    May also be called: Migraine Without Aura; Migraine; Common Migraine

    A migraine is a recurring headache that causes intense throbbing in part of the head. Warning signs, called auras, sometimes signal that a migraine is coming on. A migraine without aura is a migraine headache that happens without an aura.

    Diagnosis Of Migraine Without Aura

    Migraine Types: Episodic, Chronic, With Aura, and Without Aura

    According to Dr. Jennifer Robblee, of The Mayo Clinic, migraine without aura is a clinical diagnosis. While there is no surefire test for detecting the presence of migraine, Robblee says there are a number of symptoms and factors that doctors can point to so they can make a diagnosis.

    The diagnosis is reached by reviewing the patients personal and family medical history, studying symptoms and conducting an examination. Robblee notes that doctors do not diagnose migraineor any other type of headachebased on imaging.

    Less than 1% of all brain imaging has a sinister finding in headache, so generally your imaging is going to look normal, she says. If we see anything, its probably not related to migraine . So there are certain things we need to know and look for to reach an accurate diagnosis.

    If there are any atypical features or red flags in a patients history or examination, further testing may be warranted.

    Recommended Reading: Do I Have A Migraine Quiz

    Ocular Migraines And Stroke

    Henry HoffmanThursday, September 27th, 2018

    Today, migraines are considered the most common neurological disorder according to the Journal of Stroke,;and, in the United States alone, about30 million;people suffer from these debilitating headaches. Research has determined that all migraineurs are at a higher risk of suffering a stroke, and this risk factor is potentiallydoubled or tripled;for individuals who suffer from migraines with visual disturbances collectively known as aura.

    Unfortunately, migraines with aura exhibit similar symptoms to those associated with certain life-threatening conditions, namelytransient ischemic attacks;and strokes. For this reason, many migraineurs may mistake early stroke warning signs for classic migraine symptoms. Telling the difference and recognizing a medical emergency for what it is can be difficult, but isnt impossible.

    Read Also: How To Get Rid Of S Migraine

    What Is A Migraine With Aura

    A migraine with aura is a severe headache that happens along with things like dizziness, a ringing in your ears, zigzag lines in your vision, or sensitivity to light.

    About a quarter of all migraines happen with auras. But you may not have one with every migraine. Some children and older adults may get an aura but no pain.

    Though they can hurt a lot and make you feel “off,” these headaches aren’t life-threatening. There are things you can do as well as medications and devices that can treat the symptoms and prevent migraine with aura.

    What is aura?

    “Aura” is the term for any of the sensory changes that happen before a migraine headache. They can affect your vision, hearing, or ability to speak. You could also have muscle weakness or tingling.

    Recommended Reading: Teas Good For Headaches

    Are Migraine Auras Dangerous

    The bad news is that if you already get auras and migraines, you are at a higher risk of stroke than people who don’t get migraines. The good news is that the increased risk is still relatively low.

    But are migraine auras dangerous?

    They can be.

    The aura is possibly the most dangerous part of a migraine attack for a couple of very good reasons.

    #1. The blood supply to your brain cells is restricted which can lead to cell damage or death of the brain cells. And depending on other risk factors, if brain tissue is damaged its called ischaemic stroke.

    It is common to find “non specific white matter lesions” on MRI’s and scans for those of us with migraine aura. But this has not been found to cause cognitive decline in migraine sufferers.

    If you get migraine with aura you’re at a higher risk for stroke than others.

    “Note: absolute level of risk remains relatively low unless you have one or more other risk factors such as smoking, obesity or family history.”

    #2.;Because the symptoms of a “mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack ” are so similar to a migraine attack, they can be mistaken by a migraineur as “just another aura”.;

    The symptoms of TIA that are similar to migraine symptoms:

    • Weaknesses, numbness or paralysis of your face, arm or leg on one or both sides of your body.
    • Difficulty swallowing, speaking or understanding things.
    • Dizziness or loss of balance. You may have an unexplained fall for example.

    This is especially important if you’ve experienced:

    Migraine Aura Without Headache

    2. Migraine without aura and chronic migraine

    Experiencing a migraine aura without a headache can be confusing.

    Most people associate migraines with headaches and intense head pains. So, theyre often left unsure when they experience most of the same symptoms without any head pain.

    Though much rarer, migraine aura without headaches are still considered ocular migraines, even though the experience is much different.

    The main similarity between the two conditions are the visual auras. Those that experience a migraine aura see the same bright spots, dark spots, stars, and zigzag lights.

    The difference is that they come and go without any head pain. Most people will experience the visual symptoms for between 5 minutes and 60 minutes before they go away completely.

    Even though the visual symptoms dont occur with a headache, most experts still agree theyre caused by the same changes as a normal ocular migraine.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, two main types of people experience silent migraines.

    First is people that experience ocular migraines like normal. Sometimes the visual aura will result in a headache while other times no head pain will be felt.

    The second is those that only experience ocular migraines without pain. They never experience a headache after the visual aura.

    Remember that the symptoms of migraines change over time. Most people have a far different migraine experience over time as when they first started to get migraines.

    You May Like: Excedrin Migraine For Cramps

    Diagnosing Migraine Aura Without Pain

    Migraine aura without pain can be hard to diagnose. It can be confused with stroke or seizures. Your doctor will have to rule out other, more common, health conditions before diagnosing you with migraine aura without pain. A migraine diary is an important tool in helping your doctor accurately diagnose silent migraine.1,,2

    Treating And Preventing Migraine With Aura Or Retinal Migraine

    For infrequent attacks, medications that target symptoms can be effective, from NSAIDs for pain to anti-nausea medications. Preventative therapies including calcium channel blockers, antiepileptic or tricyclic medications. Quitting smoking is recommended and cessation of oral contraceptives may be advised in certain circumstances. Some options for relief without drugs can include resting your eyes, removing yourself from bright sunlight or other harsh lighting, and taking a break from looking at a screen. As with all types of migraine, try to avoid triggers like stress, dehydration, high altitude, low blood sugar, excessive heat and extensive time spent staring at a screen.

    While the symptoms can be disorienting and distressing, they are often short-lived, and almost always reversible. Take some time away from triggers and wait for the symptoms to fade. For more information, visit the American Migraine Foundations resource center, which includes content specifically related to Migraine with Aura, Retinal Migraine and more. The American Migraine Foundation is committed to providing comfort and information to people living with this disease. You are not alone: find your support network today.

    Font Size

    Recommended Reading: How Does Elavil Work For Migraines

    Also Check: Excedrin Pm Shortage

    Updates On The Clinical Features Of Migraine Especially Migraine With Aura

    Randolph W. Evans, MD

    Although we see migraineurs almost daily and over 50 percent of us are migraineurs,1 a review of the clinical features may be of interest.

    Migraine has a one-year period prevalence of 12 percent and2 some 35 million people annually have migraine in the United States. The cumulative incidence of migraine by age 85 is 18.5 percent in males and 44.3 percent in females with onset before the age of 25 in 50 percent of cases, in 75 percent before the age of 35 years, and only two percent over the age of 50.3 The median age of onset is 25 years. About 8 percent of boys and 11 percent of girls have migraine.4 Chronic migraine, with attacks occurring on 15 or more days per month for at least three months, occurs in about 3.2 million people per year in the United States, 80 percent women.5


    Popular Articles