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Migraine with aura

  • Alternative Names

    Migraine - classic; Headache - migraine with aura


    When a migraine begins with visual disturbances (aura), these warning symptoms may occur anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours before the headache. The visual changes are common in one or both eyes. They may occur in any combination:

    • Seeing zigzag lines
    • Seeing flashing lights
    • Other visual hallucinations
    • Temporary blind spots
    • Sensitivity to bright light
    • Blurred vision
    • Eye pain

    Other symptoms that may precede or accompany the headache include:

    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Chills
    • Increased urination
    • Increased sweating
    • Swelling of the face
    • Irritability
    • Fatigue

    The headache itself is often described as a "pounding" feeling that starts on one side of the head and may spread to the other side. For many patients, the headaches start on the same side each time. Many patients describe pain behind the eye or in the back of the head and neck.

    The headache typically begins as a dull ache that progressively worsens over several minutes to hours to the point of disabling pain. The headache may last several hours to days, during which patients are sensitive to light or sound. Patients often wish to rest in a quiet, dark room.

    Signs and tests