Writer’s note: Some of you have expressed an interest in learning more of the medical terminology that comes up when discussing Migraine disease and other headache disorders. So, I’ll be posting a “term of the day,” on a regular basis. If there are terms you’d like to have defined, please leave a comment below.
When we’re given Migraine and headache information, whether from our doctor, a book, or an online article, we sometimes come across medical terms that can be confusing. While it’s easy enough to substitute another word or a short phrase for the medical term, there are times when substituting doesn’t quite convey the same meaning.
Dopamine is one of those terms. We see it used when talking about Migraine treatments and symptoms, and it’s an important word for patients with Migraine to understand.
Definition: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, one of the chemicals in the brain responsible for transmitting signals between neurons (nerve cells). Dopamine is sometimes referred to as the “feel good” neurotransmitter because it helps regulate emotions, motivation, and sensory perception.
Here’s an example of how it’s used in a sentence: Research has shown that levels of dopamine drop significantly during a Migraine attack, but are stable between attacks.
Researchers think the drop in dopamine during a Migraine attack is responsible, at least in part, for allodynia and the need many Migraine patients have to isolate themselves during an attack.
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©Teri Robert, 2017.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.