3/6/07 Podcast: Yes, You Can Have a Migraine Without an Aura

  • The transcript of this podcast is below. If you prefer to listen to it, you can do so easily from the MigraineCast Web site.

    Welcome to MigraineCast, the weekly podcast brought to you by MyMigraineConnection.com and the HealthCentral Network. Today's topic is "Yes, you can have a Migraine without an aura." More than one Migraineur has been told, "You can't be having a Migraine because you're not having an aura." That statement is especially disturbing when it comes from a doctor because it's yet another myth about Migraines, and we ex[ect doctors to know better. The truth is that only 20 - 25% of Migraineurs experience the aura phase of a Migraine attack. Migraine without aura is the most common form of Migraine disease.
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    While we're on the topic of Migraine aura and myths, let's dispell another one -- the myth that all Migraine aura symptoms are visual. Once again, not true. The aura phase of a Migraine attack can produce several different types of symptoms.

    Since the visual symptoms are what people usually think of, lets start with them. Some potential visual aura symptoms are:
    • small blind spots that can be in one place or seem to move around
    • seeing wavy lines much like seeing heat rise off of hot pavement in the summer
    • phosphenes, which are brief flashes of light that streak across the visual field
    • Scintillating scotoma, which is tiny, flickering lights; and
    • Jagged, disjointed, or Distorterd vision
    For some Migraineurs, the aura phase ay include other symptoms including:
    • dizziness
    • confusion
    • a decrease in or loss of hearing
    • allodynia, which is a hypersensitivity to feel and touch
    • auditory hallucinations, where we hear things that aren't really there
    • olfactory hallucinations, smelling odors that aren't acutally present
    • numbness and tingling of the extremities or face
    Migraine aura can also produce some more extreme symptoms:
    In the case of hemiplegic Migraine, the aura phase can include temporary one-sided paralysis.

    With Retinal Migraine, total, but temporary blindness can occur in one eye during the aura phase.

    Obviously, some of these symtpoms, especially paralysis or blindness, can be extremely frightening. A Migraineur who is esperiencing them for the first time should be checked out by their doctor to be sure they actually are due to a Migraine as opposed to a stroke or other medical issue.

    For many Migraineurs, however, the aura phase is actually a welcome visitor if we have to have a Migraine attack at all. It's the "Yellow light" of the Migraine attack. Abortive medications need to be taken early in a Migraine attack to work best, and the aura phase allows us to get our medications earlier than we might otherwise. In fact, in some cases, when Migraine abortive medications are taken during the aura, they can actually abort the Migraine attack before it progresses to the headache phase, which is a welcome result.

    Myths still abound about Migraine disease, even among some doctors. If your doctor doesn't know the difference between the myths and the truth, it's time to consider a new doctor. Our health is ultimately our responsibility, and we need to educate ourselves, but it's well within reason to expect our doctors to know the difference between myth and truth.

  • After living with Migraine disease for over 40 years, I've come to realize that learning about Migraine disease can allow us to work with our doctors to gain control over this disease rather than the disease controlling us. Please join us at MyMigraineConnection.com for information and support or for a transcript of this podcast. For MyMigraineConnection.com and the HealthCentral Network, this is Teri Robert reminding you that you can live well with Migraine disease and headaches.
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Published On: March 13, 2007