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'Silent migraines' - do you have them?

(99 Posts)
boheminan Tue 14-Mar-23 14:09:45

I've just had a 'Silent Migraine' my first in over 15 years, so three in my lifetime so far.
Silent Migraines (for me) bring no headache but a flashing bright zig-zag aura that obliterates my sight. Thankfully I was able to get in my darkened bedroom before it got too bad.

I find them very frightening, they come unexpectantly, with no warning...they leave me feeling grotty, tired with a dull headache. This one only lasted about 20mins, another, years ago, lasted around an hour.

Does anyone else on GN experience these monsters? How often? How do you cope? Any tips???

win Fri 17-Mar-23 18:42:22

Brilliant thread you have all reassured me my flashes are normal. Thank you

LucyW Fri 17-Mar-23 19:46:18

Had my first migraine at ten and am still getting them fifty plus years later. No longer get the visual disturbance ( which was like coloured waterfalls) and the actual headache, while painful, is relieved with an imigran injection, icecold compress over eye and a lie down. They now last for around three days every month and I feel really washed out afterwards. I am just grateful the horrendous headache and vomiting (thirty - forty times during an attack) have ceased. Several times my late dh had to call out a doctor to inject me and one wanted to hospitalise me as I was so dehydrated. My late dh used to get the visual disturbances but not always the headache. One thing I do notice is how my coordination is affected - I am naturally clumsy but so much worse during an attack. Lack of sleep, bright lights ( going to the theatre frequently brought a migraine on), alcohol and strong cloying perfumes are among the causes but often there is no apparent cause. I am so used to them now but still dread them. Have total sympathy for fellow sufferers.

Willitwork Fri 17-Mar-23 21:53:06

I used to get what i described as a halo of stained glass. A circle, which when it eventually joined to make the circle, the migraine pain would kick in. I haven't had it since being diagnosed with coeliac disease and being gluten free.

sweetcakes Fri 17-Mar-23 22:21:04

Mine use to be sparkling lights then it change to what they are now psychedelic lights usually about once a year lasting 15 to 20 minutes I just close the curtains lay my head back and wait for it to be over no pain. I did once go to the hospital and had dye put in my eye to check it out verdict silent migraine no pain and the doctor said all the fun with out the pain!

Lizbethann55 Fri 17-Mar-23 23:44:06

I have them when I am stressed or anxious. I was terrified the first time it happened. Now I just accept it as a nuisance, especially if I am at work as I work in a library and can't read because of all the Ziggy Ziggy lines. but it was such a relief when I realised it was nothing to worry about. I find they last for up to half an hour. Sometimes I have a slight headache after. I was told they were called optic migraines. I always know a few minutes before they start that I am about to have one, but I don't know how I know! I have friends who have full blown " proper" migraines. I am so glad that I have these optic ones.

Eloethan Sat 18-Mar-23 00:41:37

When I was younger I used to get terrible migraines, though fortunately only occasionally. I got the blotchy vision and flashing lights plus the most awful headache and nausea.

Since then I have on a couple of occasions experienced the visual disturbance without the other horrible symptoms. It is such a relief when it gradually goes away.

Snorkel Sat 18-Mar-23 02:07:59

I have had these since early childhood. I tried telling adults 'I can only see half your face' and was told I was being silly. I still have them frequently (now 62). The worst tuned into full blown migraine headache with vomiting. The school nurse (remember them?) drove me home three days in succession when I was about twelve and told my mother she should take me to the doctor. Prescribed a paracetamol/anti-nausea medication called Paramax, taken off the market a few years ago. Mine are triggered by fluorescent lighting and going into some stores eg Peter Jones Kings Road always resulted in a bad episode. Catching a flash of light like sun reflected on a car bumper also a nightmare.

Juliet27 Sat 18-Mar-23 04:38:47

My triggers are similar to yours Snorkel plus stress. I’ve had to take half an hour or so time out at work when I get one of these ‘heads’ and having told my boss I could only see half his face he said he hoped it was the better side!!
As Lizbethann said, I know a few minutes beforehand that I’m going to get one but couldn’t explain why - it just seems to be a slight distortion of general sensation.

hamster58 Sat 18-Mar-23 07:52:44

And another one-I get them too when under stress. Very frightening when you don’t know what it is but once reassured, where possible, take time out to relax and for me at least, after 20ish minutes, the zig zag ‘blows away’

Diggingdoris Sat 18-Mar-23 09:23:48

I used to get these now and again when I was working. Since I retired I haven't had any at all. Like some others on here I had my first one when I was driving which was scary. Looking back it was during my first trip alone driving from Essex to Leeds, so I was probably stressed.

KnittyNannie Sat 18-Mar-23 09:28:08

I also know a few minutes before they start. I think I can best describe it as feeling ‘not quite with it’! Sounds awful, but it’s reassuring to know other people get the same symptoms! Sorry.

Lizzies Sat 18-Mar-23 18:48:28

I used to get migraines linked to my period, but I have only once had a silent migraine that affected my sight. I was at work in the finance office of a store and I freaked out my manager when I announced that I suddenly couldn’t see! I had had the zigzag flashes before, but I had never lost my sight before. I knew it was a migraine and would pass, but Karen was panicking and called her manager. It only lasted a couple of minutes and there was no headache after. I went to the optician to get checked and there was nothing wrong.

Mandymoo456 Sat 18-Mar-23 18:58:53

Hello, I'm 61 I started with silent migraines at 57, it was a very frightening time,I had coloured lights and really panicked for quite some time as the Drs had no reassurance
Anyway years later I just accept them now and have become more used to them

farmgran Sun 19-Mar-23 08:45:59

I get them occasionally. I usually sit quietly with my eyes closed for about 15 min and it goes away.
The worst time was when I was driving through a city I didn't know and just had to keep going!

boheminan Sun 19-Mar-23 09:54:54

As others have said and I'm in full agreement, it's comforting to know I'm not the only one suffering these hidden monsters. I'm fortunate I don't have them often. I commiserate with you all who get them frequently.

Abitbarmy Sun 19-Mar-23 10:15:44

Yes I get them also, the first time I was at work which was an optician’s luckily. My boss said they can be delayed stress and are common in post menopausal women though men can get them but less commonly. There has never been anything I could pinpoint, just totally random. However since starting on HrT a few months ago I haven’t had one episode. At one point I was getting more than one a day. Totally harmless and they would pass in 20 minutes or so but an irritating nuisance.

Marmight Sun 19-Mar-23 10:25:52

I get them, in clusters. Sometimes 2 or 3 in a day. They arrive out of the blue so I just sit with eyes closed while the zigzags do their thing and pass. Sometimes 10 minutes sometimes 40. I occasionally have a slight feeling of heaviness on the top of my head but not really a headache. Ive decided its due to stress, too much screen time or reading. Another thing to cope with as age creeps on 🙄

Diggingdoris Mon 20-Mar-23 16:05:25

After saying I haven't had one since I left work, today I was walking the dog and one appeared! I thought it was a smudge on my glasses until I noticed the sparkly bits. But must not complain, I've been 14 years without one.

Ali08 Wed 22-Mar-23 06:18:44


What is prophylaxis?

I think that's another name (Amerucan, I believe) for condoms.

Ali08 Wed 22-Mar-23 06:19:19

*American - predictive text has it in for me this year!

grammargran Sun 26-Mar-23 14:33:10

Came late to this thread and it’s so interesting! I started with aura + headache migraines when I was about 12, coped well with them if I started painkillers as soon as the aura appeared - awful ones in pregnancy. Since the menopause (decades ago now) I’ve just had the silent version - small ball of zigzag lines which grows until it reaches the edges of my eye and then disappears, about 15-20 minutes. However, interested to read the possible link with epilepsy. For several years, I was prescribed Topiramate to deter the episodes. These tablets are also used to treat epilepsy. I stopped it because I read for migraine it should only be used for six months or so. And, of course, now the zigzags happen more, about two or three a week. More annoying that anything else.

Witzend Mon 27-Mar-23 18:48:17

I get the flashing zigzag lights now and then, never sure what triggers them. Had them first when a few months pregnant, so possibly BP related, but my BP is generally fine. If I lie down quietly for 20-30 minutes they gradually disappear.

Shandy3 Thu 30-Mar-23 11:43:50

Although this may sound 'mad' have you tried a flannel soaked in cold water and vinegar across your head? I'm unsure if it's the fumes or what??? But I have found this works!