At least 39 million people in the United States suffer from migraines, with many others affected remaining undiagnosed due to a lack of knowledge about the condition. Here at Prairie Spine, we are more than willing to help if you believe you may have symptoms similar to those of migraines. Understanding the differences between migraines with aura and without will alter your treatment process and will allow you to better assess the situation. If you are experiencing migraines and not finding relief, call us at (952) 974-2091. Continue reading to learn more about migraines and their respective symptoms.
When you have long-term migraine, it’s about much more than a headache. You may feel sick to your stomach or find it hard to handle light, sounds, and smells. For some people, though, it doesn’t stop there. They also get something called an aura.
Most often, an aura causes you to see strange things, like colored spots or flashing lights. It can be scary, especially the first time it happens.
Migraines without auras are much more common than any other kind. You can get them as often as several times a week or as little as once a year.
Auras show up in about 1 in 3 people with migraine, but you’re not likely to get them every time. So it’s possible you might have both types of migraine, with auras happening here and there.
What Causes Migraines?
Scientists aren’t sure what causes migraines. They think many brain chemicals — such as serotonin, calcitonin gene-related peptide, and dopamine — play a role. According to the theory, a wave of nerve cell activity spreads across the brain and excites the trigeminal nerve. This causes the release of neurotransmitters that trigger a change in the size of blood vessels, releasing more neurotransmitters and finally causing an inflammatory process and pain.
How Are They Different?
With or without an aura, you also get typical migraine symptoms, which may last 4 to 72 hours. They can include:
- Being sensitive to light, smells, sound, motion, and touch
- Blurred vision
- Pain that’s usually on one side of the head and worse when you move
- An upset stomach and throwing up
- Stiffness in your shoulders and neck
When you get an aura, it typically sets in slowly over 5 to 20 minutes. It may last up to an hour. It often acts as a warning before any pain shows up. But it can happen during the migraine, as well.