Typical migraine aura occurs before or during migraine and is experienced by about 25% of all migraine sufferers. The experience can be visual, sensory, or result in problems with speaking or word finding.

Visual changes are the most common form of aura, occurring in more than 90% of those migraineurs with aura. There can be spots, zigzags or crescents, flashes of light, or losing sight partially or fully. The shimmering that occurs in aura when vision is obscured is referred to as a ‘scintillating scotoma’, where a scotoma is a blind spot in vision

Sensory changes are the second most frequent form of typical migraine aura. These may consist of tingling or numbness on one side of the face, body, or tongue.

A third form of typical aura results in problems with speech or language, such as being temporarily unable to speak, slurred speech, being unable to find the right word, or using the wrong word to express an idea.

All 3 common types of aura are considered typical if any one of them lasts between 5 minutes to one hour.

One common misunderstanding is that other symptoms signaling an impending migraine represent aura. These symptoms, called a prodrome are indications that a migraine is upcoming, but they do not represent true migraine aura. Precursory symptoms might be feeling irritable, tired, yawning, or having an unexplained change in mood. Some people will become very energetic, and others have trouble concentrating. Nausea, blurred vision, and neck symptoms are other common signs of early or impending migraine. While these symptoms do not represent aura, they can be useful warning signals to prepare for a migraine and initiate possible assistive measures such as drinking fluids, reducing stress, noise, or excessive environmental stimuli.

References: Headache, The Journal of Head and Face Pain, Tepper, 2014

Note:Information on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice