Migraines used to be considered vascular disorders, but recent research indicates that blood vessel changes are not as crucial to migraines as changes in the brain. Discover why it's accurate to refer to migraines as neurovascular disorders with help from a board-certified neurologist in this free video on migraine headaches.
I'm Alexander Mauskop, director of the New York Headache Center. Vascular migraine symptoms. Migraines were considered vascular disorders because when you have a migraine, you have throbbing sensation in your head, so people thought it's something wrong with your blood vessels. That's what's causing the headache. Well, recent research indicates that blood vessel changes are not as crucial as brain changes, so it's a brain disorder. It's not blood vessel disorder. So blood vessels are less important than we used to think, so we don't call migraines vascular headaches any longer, even though some people still use this term. But it's more accurate to say neurovascular rather than vascular. So migraine does involve disturbance of blood vessels, but it's a secondary phenomenon. What precedes the blood vessel changes in the brain, many changes in the chemistry of the brain. Nerve cells start talking to each other and releasing chemicals, and then eventually blood vessels get involved as well and the pain becomes pulsating because the nerve endings around the blood vessels become very sensitive to pulsating movement.