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Migraine and Headache Terms



Pharyngitis: inflammation or infection of the throat

Phonophobia: sensitivity to sound

Photophobia: light sensitivity

Preventive medications: drugs used to treat very frequent tension headaches and migraines, or the combination of both types of headaches to reduce both the frequency and severity of the headaches; preventive medications are prescribed to be taken regularly, usually on a daily basis.

Primary headaches: headaches that are not the result of another medical condition; these include migraine, tension, and cluster headaches.

Pseudotumor cerebri: increased pressure within the head (intracranial) caused by buildup of excess fluid around the brain

Raynaud's phenomena: abnormal sensitivity to cold, which is usually seen in the hands; signs include tingling, discomfort, decreased sensation, or color changes in the hands. This condition may be associated with migraines.

Rebound headaches: headache that occurs from over-using medications for headache pain; exceeding label instructions or your doctor's advice can cause you to "rebound" into another headache. This is especially dangerous when the drug contains caffeine, an ingredient included in many medications to speed up the reaction of the other ingredients.

Retinal migraine: temporary, partial, or complete loss of vision in one eye, along with a dull ache behind the eye that may spread to the rest of the head

Secondary headaches: headaches that are the result of another medical condition; these include sinus and allergy-related headaches, as well as headaches that result from a head injury, trauma, or more serious condition, such as a tumor.

Sedative: medication that helps a person rest

Seizures: an abnormal movement or behavior caused by unusual electrical activity in the brain

Serotonin: a chemical messenger, called a neurotransmitter, which acts on blood vessels and pain control pathways in the brain; some medications which affect serotonin levels are used to prevent headaches. Serotonin is also responsible for controlling mood, attention, sleep, and pain.

Sinuses: air-filled cavities (spaces) located in your forehead, cheekbones, and behind the bridge of your nose; the sinuses produce a thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose. When a sinus becomes inflamed -- usually as the result of an allergic reaction a tumor, or an infection -- the inflammation will prevent the outflow of mucus and cause a pain similar to that of a headache.

Sinus headaches: headaches associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose; the pain often occurs with other symptoms, such as nasal drainage, facial swelling, fever, or feeling of "fullness" in the ears.

Sinusitis: inflammation of the sinuses, the air-filled cavities on the face

Spinal tap: see Lumbar puncture

Status migrainosus: a rare and severe type of migraine that can last 72 hours or longer; the pain and nausea are so intense that people who have this type of headache must be hospitalized. Certain medications can cause this type migraine syndrome.

WebMD Medical Reference

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