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: Pathophysiology.
Pathophysiology is functional changes associated with or resulting from disease or injury and the study of those changes.
When related to Migraine attacks, the pathophysiology of a Migraine attack would mean the changes in how the brain and central nervous stem function when a Migraine is triggered and during the Migraine attack. We could discuss the** pathophysiology** of how the triggers themselves work – what changes occur when we encounter a trigger. We could discuss the** pathophysiology** of a Migraine attack – what happens to the blood vessels, the nerves and tissues surrounding the blood vessels, the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine.
All of these discussions would be about the pathophysiology of Migraine, something that is still not fully understood. Researchers are making advances, however. The most recent article we published about Migraine research that was related to** pathophysiology** is _Why Hangovers May Be Worse for Migraine Sufferers _.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate in the area of migraine and other headache disorders, and has been writing for the HealthCentral migraine site since 2007. She is 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 for “ongoing patient education, support, and advocacy,” in 2004 and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society in 2013. You can find links to Teri’s work on her web site and blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
© Teri Robert, 2009
Last updated October 21, 2009
Author of “Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches”