Health, fitness and Food
They don’t give you a headache – but ‘silent migraines’ can be even more shattering
Rachel Paskin has suffered from migraines for almost 30 years but rarely has a headache. Instead, a bright, flashing line appears across her eyes, causing her vision to partly disappear.
The 42-year-old has suffered up to five such attacks a day, severely affecting her work and ability to drive.
What she experiences is known as a silent migraine – a type of migraine that comes without the severe headache typically associated with the condition.
Instead, those affected experience visual disturbance, co-ordination problems, and pins and needles (symptoms known as migraine ‘aura’).
‘The first time it happened I was about 14 and thought I was having a stroke or going blind – it was terrifying,’ says Rachel, a Birmingham City University administrator who lives with her husband Neil, 44, a heritage building restorer, in Aldridge, West Midlands.
She put up with the silent migraines and realised she would feel OK again after they passed, usually after about 20 minutes – although during that time she couldn’t see properly and her co-ordination was compromised.
On average, she had about five attacks a year but two years ago she started having the attacks four or five times a day so she sought medical help. In the aftermath, she felt ‘spaced out’ and tired for a few hours.
Migraine aura can have a wide range of different symptoms, including seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines and blind spots, stiffness or a tingling sensation in the neck, shoulders and limbs, problems with co-ordination, difficulty speaking, and occasionally loss of consciousness.
Aura often strikes just before a crippling headache, which usually sets in under an hour after the aura finishes. READ MORE