Have you ever heard about Silent Migraines?

How migraines without headache pain can wreak havoc on your health

Did you know you could have what’s called a ‘silent migraine‘ without actually having a headache?  Surprisingly, migraines can occur without the classic pulsing head pain. In fact, about 3 to 5% of people with chronic migraines experience such headache-free migraines, known as “silent migraines.” But how can you know when you’re having one if you’re not in pain?

Silent Migraine Sufferers’ Profile

Silent migraines occur in older adults who have previously suffered full migraine symptoms, headache and all.

In other cases, adults over age 40 develop these headache-less migraines out of the blue. Here are six names associated with silent migraines:

  • Acephalgic migraine: Acephalgic is the Latin word for “without head pain”
  • Isolated visual migraine
  • Late-onset migraine accompaniment: Occurs when the condition first strikes someone over the age of 40
  • Migraine dissocié: The French name for a migraine that is dissociated from (that is, not related to) headache
  • Migraine equivalent or migraine variant
  • Typical aura without headache


To understand if you’re having silent migraines, it helps to know a bit about migraines in general and their four phases of a migraine. Actual migraines come in various types and may not include all four phases.

What is a Silent Migraine?

So what sets a silent migraine apart? You’ll know if you’re having a silent migraine if you experience everything that comes with a migraine, except the actual headache.

 Though silent migraines frequently include a prodrome or postdrome, they do not involve the phase that, for most individuals, defines a migraine — the nauseating, throbbing, one-sided head pain.

Visual Changes and Silent Migraines

A silent migraine commonly consists of visual changes that are typical of the aura phase.

Some literary experts contend that the author Lewis Carroll may have been a migraine sufferer who experienced a crazy, distorted world courtesy of the visual disturbances of the migraine aura, which may account for the fantastic morphing of reality described in his book Alice in Wonderland.

How Long do Silent Migraines Last?

Source and remainder of article @ https://www.verywell.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-silent-migraines-3572845

Updated May 30, 2017
***I’m confused about this entire article on the ‘silent migraines’,  either you have a migraine or you don’t have a migraine.  Perhaps people who may have experienced these can explain?  Deb

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I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

10 thoughts on “Have you ever heard about Silent Migraines?”

  1. I have aura migraines, and they are devastating, although I hardly ever experience the real migraine headache.
    It usually starts with flashes that I see before my eyes. They quickly become bigger and leave me almost completely blind. Like, when I look at someone´s face, I can barely see it. When you hold up five fingers, I can see only one or two. This can happen all of a sudden, so imagine the fright when this happens while driving a car or teaching a class.
    This blindless last between 1 and 4 hours. the worst I´ve ever had was 6 hours.

    Then the tingling in my body comes up, leaving me unable to decently move either my right or left side. Often a part of my face (or the inside of my throat) becomes half paralysed. I also have to go through afasia sometimes, where I´m unable compose words.

    All I can do during those attacks, is lie in bed, try not to move and wait till it´s over. Afterwards I feel beaten for at least a day or 3.

    And it´s not just the force of the attacks that dislocate my life, but also having to live under that sword of Damocles, knowing that it can happen whenever and wherever you are. The fear, it´s undescribable.

    They started shortly before my 10th birthday, and I´m 37 now and still dealing with them.

    I hope this is the explanation you were looking for. Heachache is only one of the symptoms of migraine. Migraine is actually a neurological disease, where your brain goes through a wave of super excitation (Cortical Spreading Depression). The best book I´ve read about it so far, and which has helped me a lot understanding migraines is “The Migraine Brain” by Carolyn Bernstein. I´m not here to specifically promote that book, I just want to mention it because it has helped me. I just got to your blog because I´m home alone after a migraine and bored and annoyed, so I start looking up blogs about it :p


    1. Thanks so much for explaining the insufferable pain of migraine from your experience. The book you mentioned sounds like one I hope to read soon, as I’m forever looking into any info on migraines. Currently, I’m in the midst of ending a 5-week chiropractor treatment to see if this would alleviate my chronic migraine pain but they did NOTHING to help. A complete waste of time and money (thank goodness I have insurance). I started out with headaches at 15 yrs old, soon becoming chronic migraines and I’m 60 years old. This is a horrible invisible illness to struggle with. I appreciate your comment and stopping by. Deb 🙂


      1. I found my copy on wordery.com for only 10 euros, and it was really worth it (https://wordery.com/the-migraine-brain-carolyn-bernstein-9781439150351?cTrk=NjAxNDY2NDN8NTlhMzI4YjMxYzJmMjoxOjE6NTlhMzI4YWFhODYzNTQuODk3MTk4MDA6YTk3ZjNiZjI%3D)
        Because it really explains what migraine is and all the different ways it can be triggered. There´s also a lots of anecdotes from other migraine sufferers in the book, which helped me feel less “weird”, and more than anything it has helped me take my condition more seriously. Because if you don´t take it seriously yourself, nobody will.

        I know what I need is a balanced, regular life, but the problem is: life just isn´t that way… So I need to work really hard on creating the right environment for myself, which is so hard, because there are so many factors that you just can´t control. But every little think helps.

        I really hope you find some relief soon!!

        Best wishes from Spain!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I have had “silent migraines”. I was very confused by them and thought they were some strange quirk offset of my mental illness. I have had regular migraines, but the silent migraines had no pain. I described them to my psychiatrist and he diagnosed them. They started and were experienced by me, as follows:

    Extreme light would be shining, especially flickering lights almost like what they shine at you to induce seizures. Then I’d almost get an anxiety attack it would be so distressing. I’d rush home and the only relief was to close all of the curtains and turn off all of the lights and sit in the dark for several minutes. Then the uncomfortable feeling would pass. Sometimes I even had visual and auditory distortions. That only made the whole experience worse.

    I’ve only had maybe four or five of these total. The worst was when I was on vacation in Chicago out in the bright sun. My husband had to quickly call a taxi and rush me to the hotel. Again, the curtains had to be closed and the lights off for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for explaining this to me, it just sounded very confusing as a new named type of migraine other than the commonly known ones. I’m sorry you had to experience one on your vacation. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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