Understanding Aura Migraines

With less than 20% of all migraine patients diagnosed with it, migraines with aura are less common than other headaches. But these migraines are also among the most painful because of the increased sensitivity to light, noise and vibrations, among others.

In a migraine with aura, the patient will experience early symptoms known as prodrome that usually occur 30 minutes before the primary symptoms begin. The prodrome phase can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes but it can also persist well into the main migraine itself.
The symptoms of the prodrome phase include:

    • Blind spots
    • Half-blindness in one or both eyes
    • Seeing zigzag patterns
    • Seeing flashing lights
    • Feeling of weakness
    • Feeling of prickling skin
    • Hallucinations

Emphasis must be made that not all patients diagnosed with migraines with aura will experience all of these prodrome symptoms. The onset as well as intensity, duration and frequency of these symptoms will vary between individuals, just as the symptoms of the migraine itself will vary between two patients.

Scientists have yet to determine the exact causes of migraines with aura. But there are several theories that are being suggested, of which the most widely accepted is the malfunction of neurochemicals in the brain. These neurochemicals are dopamine and serotonin, which contribute to proper regulation in the brain.

When these neurochemicals overreact, the brains’ blood vessels become overwhelmed until they open wider (i.e., dilation). But more chemicals are also being released to make the wider blood vessels dilate (i.e., contraction). The dilation-contraction cycle repeats itself, and yet another migraine with aura occurs. For these reasons, a consultation with a neurosurgeon may be recommended.

Like a migraine without aura, the symptoms include moderate to severe pain on one or both sides of the temple as well as in front of the head. The quality of the pain can vary between a steady pain and a throbbing pain, lasting anywhere from 4 to 48 hours.

The importance of seeking appropriate medical attention from the health experts at a Healthpointe headache clinic (such as the Long Beach clinic, located near Signal Hill, Carson, Seal Beach, Lakewood, Bellflower, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens, and Los Alamitos) cannot be overemphasized. If you are in the Los Angeles area, come to the Healthpointe clinic at Westchester (LAX) for more treatment options for migraines. The clinic is accessible to patients from Inglewood, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hawthorne, Torrance, Santa Monica, and Redondo Beach, and offers a wide array of pain management services.

About Healthpointe:

Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including La Mirada, which is conveniently located by Whittier, La Habra, Norwalk, Cerritos, Buena Park, and Santa Fe Springs. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit www.Healthpointe.net

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