When Migraines Strike: Understanding Head Numbness as an Aura Symptom

The throbbing pain of a migraine can be debilitating enough, but for some individuals, the experience is further complicated by a perplexing symptom: head numbness. This tingling, prickling, or complete loss of sensation can occur before, during, or even after the headache phase, adding another layer of discomfort to the migraine ordeal. In this blog, we delve into the intriguing relationship between head numbness and migraines, empowering you to understand this symptom and navigate its challenges.

Unveiling the Aura: A Sensory Storm Preceding the Pain

Many migraines are preceded by a premonitory phase known as the aura. This stage, lasting from minutes to an hour, can involve various sensory disturbances, including:

  • Visual disturbances: Flashes of light, shimmering patterns, or blind spots are common visual aura symptoms.
  • Sensory changes: Head numbness, typically starting on one side and spreading slowly, can be a puzzling yet common experience.
  • Speech difficulties: Slurred speech or difficulty finding words can sometimes accompany the sensory aura.

The Neurological Connection: Why Head Numbness Occurs in Migraines

The exact reason behind head numbness during migraines is not fully understood, but several theories exist:

  • Neurovascular changes: Migraines involve the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the brain. This activity can temporarily affect the nerves responsible for scalp sensation, leading to head numbness.
  • Cortical spreading depression (CSD): This wave of neuronal activity, considered a key migraine mechanism, can disrupt sensory information processing in the brain, resulting in head numbness.
  • Trigeminal nerve involvement: This nerve carries sensory information from the head to the brain. Migraine-induced inflammation or irritation of this nerve can cause head numbness.

Exploring the Spectrum: Different Types of Head Numbness in Migraines

Occasional head numbness may not be a cause for immediate concern. However, certain situations demand prompt medical attention:

  • Sudden or severe numbness: This could indicate a serious underlying condition and requires immediate evaluation.
  • Numbness that worsens over time: This suggests progressive nerve damage and necessitates intervention.
  • Numbness accompanied by other symptoms: Weakness, dizziness, vision changes, or difficulty speaking are all red flags that warrant medical attention.

Embracing Clarity: Navigating the Path to Diagnosis and Treatment

The type and severity of head numbness experienced during a migraine can vary:

  • Tingling or prickling sensation: This is the most common type of head numbness in migraines and is often described as a “pins and needles” feeling.
  • Numbness on one side of the head: This typically starts around the forehead or temple and spreads slowly to other parts of the scalp.
  • Complete loss of sensation: In rare cases, people may experience a complete loss of sensation on one side of the head during a migraine.

Seeking Solace: When to Seek Medical Attention

While head numbness often resolves as the migraine subsides, certain situations warrant seeking medical attention:

  • Sudden or severe numbness: This could indicate a stroke or other serious underlying condition.
  • Numbness that persists beyond the migraine attack: This may require further investigation to rule out nerve damage or other neurological problems.
  • Accompanying symptoms: Weakness, dizziness, vision changes, or difficulty speaking are all red flags that require immediate medical evaluation.

Taking Control of Your Migraines: Embracing a Life Free from Discomfort

By understanding the link between head numbness and migraines, you can be better prepared to manage this symptom. Here are some tips for managing migraines and minimizing head numbness:

  • Identify your triggers: Avoiding triggers like stress, certain foods, and changes in sleep patterns can help prevent migraines and reduce the severity of symptoms.
  • Develop a treatment plan: Work with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan that includes medications, lifestyle modifications, and alternative therapies.
  • Stay informed: Learn about the latest research on migraines and available treatment options.
  • Seek support: Connecting with other migraine sufferers through support groups can provide valuable information and emotional support.


You are not alone in experiencing head numbness during migraines. By understanding the connection, seeking appropriate medical attention, and implementing effective management strategies, you can regain control of your well-being and embrace a life free from the discomfort of head numbness and migraines.

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