Silent Migraines

by Sam Malone


A migraine is usually associated with a headache. However, one should be careful to note that a headache is actually just a symptom and the underlying cause of a migraine should be examined if it is chronic. One should also note that migraines can occur without the tell tale headache as a symptom. Such migraines are known as ‘silent migraines’. Migraines are also accompanied by visual symptoms. These include dizziness, blurred vision that might blur and come back to focus rapidly, seeing flashes when none are occurring. One might also develop vertigo during a migraine attack.

Migraines follow a general pattern of phases. The phases have names associated with them. Prodrome is the name of the first phase and is usually a warning sign of an oncoming migraine attack. It is characterized by irritability and may include thirst as a physical symptom. The subsequent phase is known as the “Aura” phase where a person experiences many visual problems related to migraines. These include blurred vision and sensory confusions. Due to vision problems and problems with the mental state, a person may suffer from motor function problems while in this phase. Silent migraines usually occur when the person is in the aura phase of a migraine progression.  This does not happen with all migraines. Most migraines pass straight to the next phase which is the ‘Pain’ phase. The pain phase is characterized by severe, sometimes debilitating headaches. The final phase of the migraine progression is when the symptoms begin to be relieved. It is a gradual process where all the affected senses begin to normalize themselves.

Silent migraines are usually caused by caffeine, alcohol, lack of sleep, stress. Migraines are also triggered by particular foods that might have amino acids in them. The ideal way of dealing with a migraine is to avoid the situations that can cause such pain. It is better to deal with the pain without medication although this is sometimes not possible.

A migraine, in whatever form, is either a sign of a serious medical condition that you are suffering from or a lifestyle problem that is causing your symptoms. A migraine that repeats itself a few times is a sign that you should visit a doctor. Migraines can have a neurological component as they do cause problems with brain functions related to sight and balance. Thus one must eliminate brain issues as a likely cause before focusing on lifestyle management.


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