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.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.