Migraine Aura

A migraine aura is a warning sign of an oncoming migraine headache. An aura develops gradually, usually within 30 minutes before a migraine headache starts, and consists of 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 coloured 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.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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