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    Migraine and Headache Terms

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    Massage: a type of headache treatment that involves rubbing, pinching, kneading, or otherwise manipulating the body to relieve muscular tension; massage can be helpful in promoting relaxation.

    Meningitis: an infection or inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord

    Menstrual migraine: see Hormone headache

    Mental imagery relaxation: also called guided imagery, it is a proven form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body; guided imagery coaches you in creating calm, peaceful images in your mind -- a "mental escape."

    Migraine: believed to result from abnormal brain activity and involve nerve pathways and chemicals; this in turn affects blood flow in and around the brain. Migraine disorders tend to run in families; however, the pattern of inheritance is complex. A migraine causes mild to severe pain and lasts from four hours up to a week. Migraines usually occur two to four times per month.

    Migraineur: a person who has migraines

    Mixed headache syndrome: a combination of migraine and tension headaches

    Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors: a class of drugs used to treat depression; they also help treat headaches. People taking MAO inhibitors must be careful not to eat foods containing tyramine, as this can cause increased blood pressure.

    Monosodium glutamate (MSG): a food additive commonly found in Asian food that may cause headaches in some people

    Narcotics: strong prescription pain medications

    Nervous system: includes the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system; the peripheral nervous system includes a network of nerves throughout the body, handling everything from regulating the heart rate to flexing the hand or foot. It also receives information, much of which is sent to the brain. This information is analyzed and coordinated by the central nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the spinal cord and brain.

    Neurologist: a medical specialist with advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles

    Neurology: the study of the nervous system

    Neuron: a nerve cell

    Neurotransmitter: a specialized chemical, produced in nerve cells, that permits the transmission of information between nerve cells

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