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What is migraine aura and what does it feel like?

Ilana Jacqueline

Migraine Patient Leader

Patient Advocate and Leader Ilana J. describes the experience of having a migraine aura.

Reviewed by WEGO Health Medical Review Board on
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Ilana Jacqueline
Question: “What is migraine aura and what does it feel like?”

Hi, I’m Ilana Jaqueline, and I’m a chronic migraine patient leader. Today, I’m answering the question, “What is migraine aura and what does it feel like?”

A migraine aura is unique to every patient, but it generally includes a heightened sense of perception in visual perception, audio perceptions, and sensory perceptions. So, this can include things like seeing flashing lights, blurry vision, even seeing weird things out of the corner of your eye. I’ve sometimes seen shadows crossing my vision that aren't there. You could also have sense that you don’t normally smell and that don’t actually exist. So sometimes people smell toast burning, which is a common one. You might run into the kitchen and think, “What’s burning?”, and it’s nothing, it’s just your migraine aura. You might also have actual feelings that aren’t really there. So you might have things like tingling, numbness this can be in your face, or in your limbs, other parts of your body and generally if you have these, they can be exceptionally frightening, especially if it’s the first time you’ve experienced them. So don’t be afraid to contact your neurologist and just get an exam and get tested. Usually, these are mistaken as strokes, but they are generally just migraine aura which are generally harmless. But don’t be afraid to reach out to neurologist and ask those questions if you feel them for the first time and are just unsure.

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