A relatively new name for the less common type of migraine headache. Aura refers to feelings and symptoms you notice shortly before the headache begins. These early symptoms are also called a prodrome. A migraine with aura comes with additional symptoms, which often begin about 30 minutes or less before the headache. The prodrome or aura may last for 5 to 20 minutes, or it may continue even after the headache subsides. Symptoms of aura include:
· Blind spots or scotomas
· Blindness in half of your visual field in one or both eyes (hemianopsia)
· Seeing zigzag patterns (fortification spectra)
· Seeing flashing lights (scintilla)
· Feeling prickling skin (paresthesia)
· Seeing things that aren't really there (hallucinations)
Migraine Aura is said to be experienced by 1 in 5 migraineurs, or in 20 - 30% of people. For some time now medical professionals have believed aura to be caused due to blood vessels in the brain constricting. However, more recent explanations point to the hyperexcitability of brain cells causing changes to the brain’s chemistry, which in turn affects peoples’ ordinary senses and perceptions.