Migraine Aura, as Depicted in Famous Opera

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One of Germany’s most famous composers also suffered from chronic migraines, to the point that his migraine auras became a point of obsession in his musical performances. Crushing head pain, bright scintillating lights, and overwhelming fatigue were the bane of his existence- sound familiar?

Migraine aura symptoms, migraine headaches

Recently, a study on the works of German operatic composer and migraineur Richard Wagner shed some light on the debilitating nature of migraines with aura.

Migraine study

Researchers from the Kiel Headache and Pain Centre in Germany conducted a migraine study scrutinizing the operatic works of the famous migraine sufferer, and found some interesting parallels and references that point to classic migraine with aura symptoms, such as extreme light sensitivity and eye pain.

While working on the famous opera Siegfried, Wagner complained of “tremulous headaches” that made it almost impossible for him for him to write a single note without heading for a dark room and a cold compress.

“…this is a life fit for a dog,” he wrote to a peer, in describing his battle with migraines.

During one part of the play, the star laments, “Loathsome light! Is the air aflame? What is it flaring and flashing, glittering and whirring, what is swirling and whirling there and flickering around?”

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Migraine

Also, in a scene that builds up to a crescendo of violins and violas, the musical score chillingly emulates a migraine aura, nearly reaching the 17.8Hz perceived scintillation rate of migraine aura.

Migraines today

Migraine symptoms haven’t changed much in the years. Even now, we see how constant debilitating migraines continue to make it difficult to work, rest, socialize- or do anything other than worry about when the next migraine attack will strike.

Migraine auras occur minutes before a migraine headache strikes, and may cause stroke-like symptoms such as visual impairments, hallucinatory scents, weakness, fatigue, loss of consciousness, speech slurs, and partial paralysis.

Migraine headaches are difficult to treat, and may linger for hours or days.  Across the medical board, doctors advise natural preventive treatments as the best way to positively influence biological functions that trigger migraines.

Tell us!

Do you identify with Wagner in his description of migraine headaches? Do you believe that finding a better treatment for migraines would result in increased productivity and overall wellness?

Have you tried supplementing with natural ingredients that help with common migraine triggers- vitamins, minerals, and herbs such as vitamin B2 (riboflavin), magnesium, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and butterbur extracts?

Also read:

The 4 Best Vitamins to Help Headaches

The Migraine Aura Brain: New Revelations

Are All Migraines a Genetic Mutation?

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti