Migraine Term of the Day: Neurotransmitter

Patient Expert

When we're looking at Migraine and headache information, whether it's from our doctor, a book, or an online article, we sometimes come across medical terms that can be confusing.

Sometimes, it's easy enough to substitute another word or a short phrase for the medical term. At other times, substituting just doesn't convey quite the same meaning or takes more than a few words.

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," probably a couple of times a week. If there are terms you'd like to have defined, please leave a comment to let me know what it is.

Today's term: Neurotransmitter.

A neurotransmitter is a chemical that occurring naturally in the brain and facilitates transmitting messages from one nerve cell to another. Some of the neurotransmitters are:

  • serotonin
  • norepinephrine
  • dopamine

We see neurotransmitter discussed in relation to Migraine for multiple reasons:

  • Levels of neurotransmitters are affected by the Migrainous process in the brain during a Migraine attack.
  • Antidepressants, which affect neurotransmitters, are often effective Migraine and headache preventives.
  • Most Migraine abortive medications work by binding to serotonin receptors.