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Migraine 102: More Migraine Terms You Should Know

April 16, 2021

After you’re diagnosed with migraine, you’ll discover that the world of migraine treatment options is vast and sometimes confusing. Migraine communities offer spirited discussions and warm support, but newcomers might wonder: What does HYH stand for? And why is everyone talking about pies and toolboxes?


We wrote this follow-up to our Migraine 101 Glossary to explain some migraine terms you may encounter.  


14 More Migraine Terms to Know


Abortive Medication: This type of medication is taken at the very first sign of an attack, with the goal of stopping migraine symptoms from developing.


CoQ10: Often abbreviated as CoQ or CoQ10, coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant produced naturally by the body. Some people find that taking CoQ10 as a supplement can help reduce migraine frequency.


Green Light Therapy: Some new research has shown that exposure to green light, at a specific frequency and intensity, may help reduce headache days and pain intensity.[i] 


HYH: This is one of the migraine terms you’ll see all the time in migraine community posts — so what does HYH mean? It’s an abbreviation for the “Heal Your Headache” migraine prevention diet, first developed by Dr. David Buchholz, MD. This diet seeks to eliminate migraine-triggering foods and additives, including (but not limited to) chocolate, nuts, citrus fruits, processed meats and fresh-baked breads.


Integrative Approach: An integrative approach to migraine treatment takes a holistic view that includes mind, body, spirit and community. “Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically,” explains the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.


Keto: This refers to the ketogenic diet, a high-fat, minimal-carb diet that has been shown to relieve migraine attack frequency in some people. Learn more about keto for migraine.


Magnesium: Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that plays a crucial role in more than 300 enzyme systems in the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, “several small studies found that magnesium supplements can modestly reduce the frequency of migraines.” [ii] Many people with migraine find that taking a magnesium supplement helps, although it can also cause stomach upset.


Migraine Toolbox/Toolkit: A migraine toolkit is a collection of items that can help relieve pain and make you feel better during an attack. Your toolkit might include sunglasses, water, ice packs, migraine medication and your CEFALY DUAL. Read more: What’s In a Migraine Toolkit?


Preventive Medication: This category includes any medications taken to reduce attack frequency and severity.


Rescue Medication: Rescue drugs are taken if abortive medication fails to stop a migraine attack. Rescue meds can’t make an attack end sooner, but they are intended to relieve pain, nausea and vomiting.


SEEDS: This mnemonic stands for five lifestyle modifications that can help migraine: sleep, exercise, eat, diary, and stress.  


Spoon Theory: Christine Miserandino invented “spoon theory” as a way to show a friend what it’s like living with lupus. She placed 12 spoons in her friend’s hands, representing the energy and ability she had on an average day. She explained that everything she did took away a spoon; that her life was spent calculating the cost of every action.[iii] This story resonated so strongly that many people living with chronic illness, including migraine, have adopted Spoon Theory and call themselves Spoonies.


Treatment Pie: A concept developed by Migraine Strong, the treatment pie represents the nine facets of an effective migraine treatment program. “When applied together, they have a greater chance of reducing the frequency and severity of migraine attacks than any one slice alone,” the site explains.[iv] The nine slices are: Medications, Hydration, Meditation, Therapy, Sleep, Diet, Movement, Supplements and Miscellaneous.


Trigger: A migraine trigger is anything that sparks an attack. Triggers are highly individualized, but commonly include stress, weather, alcohol, certain foods, strong fragrances, bright lights and hormone changes.







[i] Martin LF, Patwardhan AM, Jain SV, et al. Evaluation of green light exposure on headache frequency and quality of life in migraine patients: A preliminary one-way cross-over clinical trial. Cephalalgia. 2021;41(2):135-147. doi:10.1177/0333102420956711




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