What is a migraine aura?

Updated: Aug 15, 2019
  • Author: William C Robertson, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Amy Kao, MD  more...
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An aura is a focal cerebral dysfunction that immediately precedes or coincides with headache onset. The aura may occur without headache or may be more disturbing than the headache. Only 10-20% of children with migraine experience an aura. The aura usually precedes the headache by less than 30 minutes and lasts for 5-60 minutes. Motor auras tend to last longer than other forms of aura.

Children are often unaware of their aura or are unable to describe it. Pictorial cards that illustrate typical visual auras may aid in obtaining an accurate history.

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