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Migraines & Headaches Health Center

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Migraine and Headache Terms

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Biofeedback: a method used to help a person learn stress-reduction skills by providing information about muscle tension, heart rate, and other vital signs as the person attempts to relax; it is used to learn total body relaxation and also to gain control over certain bodily functions that cause tension and physical pain.

Botox injections: the botulinum toxin is a toxin produced by bacteria that causes temporary muscle paralysis; it is commonly used for cosmetic reasons, such as treating wrinkles. Botox has been FDA approved to prevent chronic migraine headache in adults. The agency defines chronic headache as having a migraine headache 15 or more days per month with headaches lasting four hours a day or longer. To treat chronic headache, Botox is given about every three months as multiple injections around the head and neck.

Bruit: (pronounced bru-ee) a noise heard by a health care provider through a stethoscope that may indicate the blockage of blood flow through an artery.

Caffeine: a stimulating ingredient found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola beverages; caffeine is also a common ingredient used in combination medications for relief of headaches.

CAT scan: see computed axial tomography

Chronic: ongoing or occurring over an extended period of time; a chronic headache occurs at least every other day or 15 days per month for at least six months.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): a condition of incapacitating fatigue; it may be associated with migraines.

Chronic progressive headaches: see Cluster headaches

Chronic nonprogressive headaches: see Tension headaches

Classic migraine: another term for migraine with aura

Cluster headaches: headaches that have a characteristic grouping of attacks; cluster headaches occur one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months. Cluster headaches are the least common type of primary headache. These headaches are considered a vascular type of headache, like migraines. The pain of a cluster headache is generally very intense and severe.

Common migraine: another term for migraine without aura

Computed axial tomography (CAT) scan: a diagnostic test in which X-rays and computers are used to produce an image of a cross-section of the body; a CT scan of the head may be recommended if you are getting daily or almost daily headaches. It can also be used to rule out other conditions that may contribute to headaches.

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