What Is Aura and How to Relieve Cluster Headaches with Aura
Medically Reviewed By:
Mary K. Polinard, BSN, RN, CNOR
As if the pain and discomfort of a headache alone weren’t enough, some types of headaches are accompanied by an aura. While this condition is most commonly associated with an aura migraine, auras can occur with cluster headaches too.
Though for some people headaches can occur without an aura, auras can be very disturbing and unsettling when they strike. Here is some information about what an aura is and how it relates to cluster headaches. This article will also discuss the warning signs of an aura, when auras typically occur, and how to find relief for migraines and cluster headaches with associated aura.
What Is An Aura?
An aura involves having sensory and visual disturbances that may include blind spots and geometric shapes. A person may see flashing lights, twinkling stars, or lines that appear and move across the space in front of the eyes. It is also possible to have a temporary loss in vision due to an aura. In addition to the visual sensations, a person experiencing an aura may also have difficulty speaking, feel numbness in the body, and notice muscle weakness.2
Aura Warning Signs & When Auras Occur
For most people, an aura occurs before the onset of other headache symptoms. An aura is usually a warning sign of an oncoming headache. Most auras begin about twenty minutes before the onset of the headache, but the duration can vary from about five minutes to an hour. Auras themselves may come on suddenly with little or no warning.2,3 Some people may notice tingling before a visual aura happens or notice a yellowish colored light form before further visual disturbances occur. These aura are usually followed by other headache symptoms, including pain, nausea and sensitivity to light. But it is also possible to have an aura then no additional headache symptoms.2
The Headaches Aura Connection for Cluster Headaches
A cluster headache with aura can feel similar to an aura migraine, with overlapping symptoms and sensations. Research studies have found few clinical differences in people who have cluster headaches with and without aura. However, people who have cluster headaches with aura may experience greater frontal pain, and cluster headache sufferers with aura most commonly experience visual symptoms more than anything else.1
Relief for Aura Migraines and Aura Cluster Headaches
Treatment for preventing aura is the same as preventing the headaches themselves.
A big part of preventing aura migraines is avoiding triggers, such as strong smells, alcohol, and cigarettes. Cluster headaches aren’t usually associated with triggers, but are likely linked to the hypothalamus and the body’s biological clock.1
To make the aura itself go away, there are no specific treatments, but over-the-counter and prescription medications aimed at preventing and treating the headache can help and make auras more manageable.2 Meanwhile, reducing daily stress levels and exercising regularly can help auras and headaches occur less frequently and be less intense. It may also help to utilize relaxation techniques; go into a dark room and gently massage the temples, practice deep breathing exercises, and drink water to relieve the symptoms of an aura.
Vanquish® is indicated for tension headaches. If you have a cluster headache, sinus headache, migraine headache or any other type of headache you may want to consult a doctor.
References for What Is Aura and How to Relieve Cluster Headaches with Aura
2. Mayo Clinic. (2019, May 30). Migraine With Aura. Retrieved on August 24, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-with-aura/symptoms-causes/syc-20352072.
3. National Headache Foundation. (2018, August 3). Aura. Retrieved on August 24, 2019 from https://headaches.org/2007/10/25/aura/.
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