Aphasia is a language disorder that can occur during migraine episodes. This article discusses how aphasia is linked to migraine, how long aphasia lasts, and how to prevent and manage aphasia caused by a migraine episode.
Migraine episodes can manifest differently from person to person and may involve a variety of symptoms. While migraine is often associated with head pain, it can also cause many other symptoms that make migraine episodes uncomfortable or even debilitating.
Transient aphasia, a temporary interruption in language skills, is a symptom that can feel particularly worrisome if you don’t know what is going on.
Here’s what to know about the link between aphasia and migraine, how long you can expect migraine-related aphasia to last, and how you can help prevent and manage migraine aphasia.
Aphasia is a language-processing disorder that can affect written and verbal communication. It is generally caused by damage to the brain regions associated with language. This damage can be the result of a traumatic injury, a stroke, or a neurological condition and can lead to challenges with spoken expression, comprehension, reading, or writing.
In some instances, aphasia develops slowly, over time. This is generally the case with aphasia caused by degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. When aphasia is caused by a migraine episode, its symptoms typically develop quickly.
Aphasia can be permanent, but when it’s temporary, it is referred to as transient aphasia. This is the type of aphasia typically associated with migraine.
Transient aphasia is categorized as a brief disruption in language that typically lasts from less than an hour to a couple of days.
According to some older research, transient aphasia may occur during the aura phase of a migraine episode, prior to the headache phase. When experiencing aphasia, you may suddenly not be able to form words or recall names of people you know closely. It may also cause you to see letters or words as jumbled and illegible when trying to read text.
Migraine-related aphasia typically occurs during the aura phase of an episode and often lasts less than an hour. It will go away once the migraine episode has passed.
The duration of aphasia can vary significantly from person to person and from one episode to another.
Aphasia that is caused by an injury or a stroke may be managed with speech therapy. However, transient aphasia due to migraine will generally pass on its own once a migraine episode has resolved.
For this reason, treating transient aphasia due to migraine generally focuses on preventing and managing the occurrence of migraine episodes.
Preventing migraine episodes may involve identifying and avoiding your migraine triggers or trying prescription medications at the suggestion of your doctor.
These medications are used to reduce the frequency of migraine episodes and the severity of migraine symptoms.
Some people with migraine also turn to complementary or integrative treatment options to help manage their migraine symptoms. Practices such as yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and regular physical activity may help reduce the frequency of migraine episodes.
When transient aphasia occurs during a migraine episode, you may find it helpful to rest in a quiet, dark room. Your language abilities should return once the migraine episode has resolved.
The occurrence of transient aphasia during a migraine episode can feel concerning, but it’s important to remember that it is only temporary.
Migraine is a complex neurological disorder that can involve a variety of symptoms. Being aware and prepared is key to effective migraine management.
If you experience aphasia alongside other neurological symptoms, such as movement changes, numbness or weakness, sensory or visual changes, seizures, or sudden behavioral changes, it could indicate a stroke and requires immediate medical attention. You should also seek medical help if you notice that your migraine symptoms have resolved but you’re still experiencing aphasia.
Medically reviewed on July 31, 2023
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