19 Jan Reader's Mail: Can Aura Signify Intensity of Pain?
Q. I experience migraine with aura and thus take my medication as soon as I see the aura, not knowing how severe (or not) the migraine will be. My pain varies greatly. I even had half migraines with very little pain. Is there a way to tell how strong the pain will be based on the aura to help predict how much medication I should take, not to overdo it?
A. Approximately 20 to 25% of migraine patients experience auras. Sometimes an aura can occur without an associated headache, especially as a patient gets older. The pattern of auras can change over time, so it may be difficult to determine if a headache will follow an aura and what severity the headache will be each time an aura occurs. As long as acute migraine medications are taken correctly without medication overuse, it is usually considered appropriate to treat the migraine at an early stage when the pain is mild to moderate in intensity. Acute migraine medications tend to become less effective if taken when the headache has already become more severe in intensity.