Everything You Need to Know About Silent Migraine
Many people are familiar with the phases of migraine. They are:
Silent migraine involves the aura phase and possibly some other migraine symptoms, but it never develops into the headache phase.
An aura is a recurring episode that involves temporary visual, sensory, or speech and language symptoms. Auras typically last around 15–30 minutes. Even without the headache pain, silent migraine can feel debilitating to the person who is experiencing it.
The onset of an aura can seem unsettling, especially if it is your first time experiencing it or if you are engaged in an activity such as driving when it happens.
If you experience migraine with aura, with or without a headache, you are two times more likely to have a stroke than those who do not experience migraine. However, it is important to note that even though the risk doubles in people with migraine auras, the absolute risk of stroke is still rather low.
Your doctor may recommend that you lower your risk of stroke by making certain lifestyle changes, such as:
- not smoking
- adopting a healthy diet
- getting plenty of exercise
- losing weight or maintaining a moderate weight
- avoiding birth control pills that contain estrogen
There are many migraine symptoms that are related to silent migraine. Often, silent migraine will have more than one symptom of both the aura phase and the prodrome phase. These symptoms include:
- sensitivity to light
- blurry vision
- seeing zigzags or squiggly lines
- a loss of vision
- difficulty speaking
- abdominal pain
There are certain risk factors that may make you more likely to experience migraine, including:
- Family history: It is possible that if you have a parent who experiences migraine, you are more likely to experience it yourself.
- Sex: Females are more likely than males to experience migraine.
- Age: You can experience your first migraine episode at any age, but most people have their first experience in adolescence. Those who have their first experience later in life are still typically younger than 40 years old.
Migraine is often the result of a trigger of some kind. Common migraine triggers include:
- hormone changes
- certain foods and beverages
- some illnesses
- sensory experiences
Silent migraine is typically difficult to treat. Most medications for migraine pain take longer to work than the typical aura lasts.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medications or treatments for silent migraine. However, according to the American Migraine Foundation, some small studies have shown some success with the use of magnesium, aspirin, and lamotrigine.
You should always consult your doctor before trying any medications or treatments for your silent migraine.
- lying down in a darkened room
- placing a cold compress or cloth on your forehead
- massaging your scalp and temples
Silent migraine, or migraine aura without a headache, is one type of migraine. It typically involves experiencing the aura phase of migraine without developing the pain.
Even without pain, silent migraine is potentially disabling and can be unsettling.