What Are Symptoms of a Silent Migraine? 21 Common Symptoms

Medically Reviewed on 6/17/2022
What Are Symptoms of a Silent Migraine
Visual aura and dizziness are the most common symptoms of a silent migraine

Silent migraine occurs when migraine symptoms occur without the headache. It can last a few minutes to an hour and may leave you feeling drained for the entire day. 

Visual aura and dizziness are the most common symptoms of a silent migraine, usually lasting 30-60 minutes.

21 common symptoms of silent migraine

Symptoms of silent migraines include:

  1. Blurry vision
  2. Flashing lights
  3. Light sensitivity
  4. Zigzag lines
  5. Vision loss
  6. Hallucination
  7. Numbness
  8. Tingling sensation
  9. Weakness
  10. Confusion
  11. Dizziness
  12. Vertigo
  13. Fatigue
  14. Chills
  15. Irritability
  16. Nausea
  17. Vomiting
  18. Diarrhea
  19. Difficulty speaking
  20. Slurred speech
  21. Abdominal pain

Some silent migraine attacks are difficult to differentiate from a transient ischemic attack (TIA), especially when they are associated with muscle weakness or altered consciousness. 

TIAs, also called ministrokes, have symptoms similar to silent migraines, such as muscular weakness on one side of the body, disorientation, and vision problems. The main difference is that migraine aura symptoms begin gradually and worsen over time, whereas TIA symptoms are observed all at once.

What causes silent migraines?

Researchers believe that migraine auras are triggered by abnormalities in electrical activity, called cortical spreading depression. These abnormalities occur in the cerebral cortex, a portion of the brain that regulates perceptions and movements. Causes and risk factors may include:

Aura symptoms could be indicative of more serious medical problems, such as meningitis, ministrokes, and strokes.

What are the treatment options for silent migraine?

Silent migraines are diagnosed based on a physical exam and family history. A spinal tap, blood tests, computed tomography scans, and magnetic resonance imaging may be part of the evaluation.

There is no cure for migraine. However, silent migraine episodes may resolve on their own even without treatment. If symptoms persist, the following techniques may be advised:

  • Lying down in a darkened room
  • Placing a cold compress on the forehead
  • Massaging the scalp and temples

Medications for silent migraine may include:

Alternative therapies for silent migraine may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Massage therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Stress-relieving techniques
  • Support groups


Who suffers more frequently from migraine headaches? See Answer

Can you prevent silent migraines?

Preventive tips for silent migraine include:

Silent migraines can have a negative influence on the quality of life, particularly if they are severe or occur regularly. Although silent migraines do not cause pain, the accompanying symptoms can be severe. Consult a doctor for guidance and treatment if you are experiencing silent migraine symptoms.

Medically Reviewed on 6/17/2022
Image Source: iStock image

WebMD. Silent Migraines. https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/what-are-silent-migraines

American Migraine Foundation. Aura without Headache or “Silent Migraine”: A Guide. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/silent-migraine/

Robert T. Acephalgic or Silent Migraine: The Essentials. Headache Warriors. https://migrainewarriors.org/essentials/descriptive-migraine-terms/acephalgic-silent-migraine-essentials/