Migraine Term of the Day: Pulsatile

Patient Expert
HealthCentral

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.

Pulsatile is one of those terms.** Pulsatile** is a pulsing quality; having a rhythm or beat. The pain of a Migraine attack is often pulsatile. Some people describe it as "throbbing." The pulsatile quality of the headache of a Migraine is often one way to distinguish it from the steady ache of a tension-type headache. You can read more about Migraine, including the pulsatile headache in:

For more terms, see our Migraine Medical Terms Glossary Index.