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Migraines are typically associated with headaches. But, not all migraines have headaches and the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. People will often see flashing lights and zigzag lines as their migraine equivalent.
A migraines is a combination of a nerve (neurological) and blood vessel (vascular) event that usually occurs in the brain and may be associated with visual symptoms that are best described as flashing lights. Typically, these flashing lights last 10 to 20 minutes and are zig zag or arc shaped. If a headache follows, it is usually within one hour. While an aura does impact a person's sense of vision visual auras do not typically obscure vision entirely.
Migraine headaches may follow the visual aura, and will usually start within one hour of the completion of the aura. Migraines do not necessarily need to include a headache.
The severity of the headache that is associated with a migraine is highly variable, and need not always be the same. The headache may be fleeting or last days.
When a person knows that a headache usually follows his or her aura, there are medications to take in advance of the onset of the headache that will mitigate, or even prevent, the headache's occurrence. These issues are best evaluated by a neurologist and the treatment approach titrated to the person's needs.