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.
© Teri Robert, 2009
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+.