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Migraine aura

A migraine aura is a warning sign of an oncoming migraine headache. An aura develops gradually. It often begins within 30 minutes before a migraine headache starts. But it can also occur during the headache for some people. It causes short-term symptoms like visual disturbances and physical sensations.

Not everyone who suffers from migraines develops an aura. For those who do, common symptoms of a migraine aura include:

  • Visual changes. For example:
    • Zigzag or wavy lines
    • Flashes or sparks of bright or colored lights
    • Slowly spreading spots
    • Distortions in the shape or size of objects
    • Blind or dark spots in the field of vision
  • Numbness or a "pins-and-needles" sensation in one hand or the other.

Other, less common symptoms of a migraine aura can occur, including:

  • Tingling or numbness around the mouth and nose or in the arms or shoulders.
  • Temporary weakness on one side of the body.
  • Brief inability to put words in the proper order, or difficulty finding the right words.

Health Library

  • Migraine aura

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400 West 16th Street, Pueblo, CO 81003

719.584.4000