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What Is a Silent Migraine?

Ask a Doctor

I went out to dinner with a bunch of friends, but my cousin’s friend canceled because she said she had a “silent migraine.” I’ve heard of an ocular migraine, but what is a silent migraine?

Doctor’s Response

“Silent migraine” describes a migraine attack without a headache. Other names for a silent migraine include acephalgic migraine, amigranous migraine, migraine aura without headache, and migraine equivalent.

A “silent migraine” is technically not a type of migraine, but a phase of a migraine attack. Migraines typically occur in 4 stages:

  • Prodrome - symptoms that occur before the attack
  • Aura - about 25% of migraine patients experience aura
  • Headache – a silent migraine skips this phase
  • Postdrome -“hung over” feeling

Symptoms of silent migraines are sometimes similar to symptoms of stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). If you experience symptoms of a silent migraine, see a doctor immediately.

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Reviewed on 4/8/2019
References
Bajwa, MD, Zahid H and R Joshua Wootton, MDiv, PhD. Patient education: Migraines in adults (Beyond the Basics). 5 October 2018. 2 January 2019 .

Migraine.com. Silent Migraine. 2 January 2019 .
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