Causes and Treatments of Migraine and Related Headaches Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Causes and Treatments of Migraine and Related Headaches article.

Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect ...

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Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Abortive: Tending to cut short the course of a disease, as in abortive polio (polio cut sh...

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Acetaminophen: A nonaspirin pain reliever or analgesic. Acetaminophen may be given alone t...

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Acetate: A molecular ion derived from acetic acid. The formula of acetate is CH3COO-.

Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Amyloid: Any of a number of complex proteins that are deposited in tissues and that share ...

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Analgesic: A drug that relieves pain.

Angiopathy: Disease of the arteries, veins, and capillaries. There are two types of angiop...

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Antidepressants: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.

Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension and fear, characterized by physical symptoms such as pa...

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Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, w...

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Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Asthma: A common lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi to swell and narro...

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Aura: A sensation perceived by a patient that precedes a condition affecting the brain. An...

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Back pain: Pain felt in the low or upper back. Causes of pain in the low and upper back in...

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Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Benign: Not malignant. A benign tumor is one that does not invade surrounding tissue or sp...

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Benign intracranial hypertension: Increased pressure within the brain in the absence of a...

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Biofeedback: A method of treatment that uses a monitor to measure patients' physiologic in...

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Birth control: Birth control is the use of any practices, methods, or devices to prevent p...

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Caffeine: A stimulant compound found naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate), and kola...

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Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is ...

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Cerebral: Of or pertaining to the cerebrum or the brain.

Cerebrospinal fluid: A watery fluid that is continuously produced and absorbed and that fl...

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Cerebrum: The largest part of the brain. It is divided into two hemispheres, or halves.

Cheek: The side of the face, which forms the side wall of the mouth. The cheekbone is part...

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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Cluster: In epidemiology, an aggregation of cases of a disease or another health-related c...

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Cluster headache: A distinctive episodic syndrome of headaches. The most common cluster he...

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Dehydration: Excessive loss of body water. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that cau...

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Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of ...

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Dopamine: An important neurotransmitter (messenger) in the brain.

Epilepsy (seizure disorder): When nerve cells in the brain fire electrical impulses...

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Eskalith: See: Lithium.

Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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Essential tremor: Uncontrollable shaking (tremor) of the hands and arms and sometimes othe...

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Estrogen: A female steroid hormone that is produced by the ovaries and, in lesser amounts,...

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Extracranial: Outside the cranium, the bony dome that houses and protects the brain. As op...

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Familial: A condition that tends to occur more often in family members than is expected by...

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Family history: The family structure and relationships within the family, including inform...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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Fungal: Pertaining to a fungus. For example, a fungal skin infection.

Glutamate: A form of glutamic acid. See: Glutamic acid.

Head injury: Damage to any of the structures of the head as a result of trauma. While the ...

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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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Hemorrhagic: Pertaining to bleeding or the abnormal flow of blood.

Hereditary essential tremor: See: Essential tremor.

Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia: A genetic disease characterized by the presence of ...

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Histamine: A substance that plays a major role in many allergic reactions, dilating blood ...

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Histamine cephalalgia: A distinctive syndrome of headaches, also known as cluster head...

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Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceedi...

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Idiopathic: Of unknown cause. Any disease that is of uncertain or unknown origin may be te...

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Imitrex: Brand name for sumatriptan, a triptan drug for the treatment of migraine.

Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Inpatient: A patient whose care requires a stay in a hospital. As opposed to an outpatient...

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Intracranial: Within the cranium, the bony dome that houses and protects the brain.

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. JAMA began publication in 1883. JAM...

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Jaw: The movable junction of the bones below the mouth (the mandible) and the bone just ab...

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Lesion: An area of abnormal tissue change. Lesions vary in severity from harmless to serio...

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Lithium: A naturally occurring salt that, in purified form, is used to treat certain psych...

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Lithobid: See: Lithium.

Lumbar: Referring to the five lumbar vertebrae, the disks below them, and the correspondin...

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Lumbar puncture: A procedure in which cerebrospinal fluid is removed from the spinal canal...

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Magnetic resonance imaging: A procedure that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer t...

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Malaise: A vague feeling of discomfort, one that cannot be pinned down but is often sensed...

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Membrane: A very thin layer of tissue that covers a 'surface.

Memory: 1. The ability to recover information about past events or knowledge. ...

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Meninges: The three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (singular: meninx).

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Meningitis: Inflammation of the meninges, the three membranes that envelop the brain and t...

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Menstrual: Pertaining to menstruation (the menses), as in last menstrual period, menstrua...

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Menstrual cramps: Cramping in the lower abdomen, usually in the first or second day of the...

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Migraine: Usually, periodic attacks of headaches on one or both sides of the head. These ...

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Migraine headache: The most common type of vascular headache involving abnormal sensitivit...

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Migraine without aura: See: Common migraine.

Monosodium glutamate: MSG, a sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid that enhances the...

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MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging.

Myelin: The fatty substance that covers and protects nerves. Myelin is a layered tissue th...

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Narcotic: 1. A drug that causes insensibility or stupor. A narcotic induces narcosi...

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Nasal: Having to do with the nose.

Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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Neuralgia: Pain along the course of a nerve.

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Neurological: Having to do with the nerves or the nervous system as, for example, a neurol...

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Neurology: The medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders o...

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Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, c...

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Obstruction: Blockage of a passageway. See, for example: Airway obstruction; Intestinal o...

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Occipital: 1. Pertaining to the occiput, the back of head.
2. Located...

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Ocular: Having to do with the eye.

Ocular migraine: See migraine, ocular.

Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Ophthalmic: Pertaining to the eye. For example, an ophthalmic ointment is designed for the...

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Ophthalmic migraine: Migraine involving the eyes but without headache. Migraine, due to ...

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Organic: 1. A chemical compound that contains carbon.
2. Related to a...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Panic: A sudden strong feeling of fear that prevents reasonable thought or action. The wor...

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Paralysis: Loss of voluntary movement (motor function). Paralysis that affects only one mu...

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Photophobia: Painful oversensitivity to light. For example, photophobia is often seen in m...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Prevalence: The proportion of individuals in a population having a disease or characterist...

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Pseudotumor cerebri: Increased pressure within the brain in the absence of a tumor. Pseudo...

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Psychosis: In the general sense, a mental illness that markedly interferes with a person'...

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Puberty: Adolescence, the period in which the human body first becomes capable of reproduc...

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Quality of life: The patient's ability to enjoy normal life activities. Quality of life is...

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Rebound: The reversal of response upon withdrawal of a stimulus.

Recur: To occur again; to return. For example, a symptom, sign, or disease can recur.

Referred pain: Pain felt at a site other than where the cause is situated. An example is t...

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Retinal: Pertaining to the retina, the extraordinary layer of neurons (nerve cells) that ...

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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Sensitivity: 1. In psychology, the quality of being sensitive. As, for example, sen...

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Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Sero...

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Sinus: 1. An air-filled cavity in a dense portion of a skull bone. The sinuses decr...

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Sinusitis: Inflammation of the lining membrane in any of the hollow areas (sinuses) of the...

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Skull: The skull is a collection of bones which encase the brain and give form to the hea...

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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Spasm: A brief, automatic jerking movement. A muscle spasm can be quite painful, with the ...

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Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies with...

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Spinal tap: Also known as a lumbar puncture or "LP", a spinal tap is a procedure whereby ...

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Steroid: One of a large group of chemical substances classified by a specific carbon struc...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Sumatriptan: A triptan drug for the treatment of migraine. Marketed under the brand name I...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Temple: The area just behind and to the side of the forehead and the eye, above the side o...

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Temporal: 1. Pertaining to time, limited in time, temporary, or transient.
...

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Temporal arteritis: Also called giant cell arteritis or cranial arteritis, this is a serio...

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Tension: 1) The pressure within a vessel, such as blood pressure: the pressure within t...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Tourette syndrome: A tic disorder characterized by the presence of chronic vocal and motor...

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Trauma: A physical or emotional injury.

Tremor: An abnormal, repetitive shaking movement of the body. Tremors have many causes and...

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Trigger: Something that either sets off a disease in people who are genetically predispose...

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Tuberculous: Pertaining to tuberculosis. Affected by tuberculosis. Caused by Mycobacterium...

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Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.

Unilateral: Having, or relating to, one side. For example, a unilateral rash is one that i...

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Vascular: Relating to blood vessels. For example, the vascular system in the body includes...

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Vasodilators: Agents that act as blood vessel dilators (vasodilators) and open vessels by ...

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Vertigo: Aside from being the name of a classic 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film (with Jimmy St...

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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. I...

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Withdrawal symptoms: Abnormal physical or psychological features that follow the abrupt di...

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Zolmitriptan: A triptan drug for the treatment of migraine. Marketed under the brand name ...

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Zomig: Brand name for zolmitriptan, a triptan drug for the treatment of migraine.

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