Specific and Non-specific Effects of Skin Temperature Control in Migraine Management

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Abstract

SYNOPSIS

Skin temperature self-regulation has been demonstrated to be an efficacious behavioral technique in the management of migraine headache. However, a controversy has arisen over the particular significance of the skin temperature factor per se. The present pilot study represents an attempt to evaluate the relative contributions of specific and non-specific effects of thermal biofeedback in migraine therapy. Thirteen female migraine patients were randomly assigned to either a “hand-warming”or a “hand-cooling” treatment condition. The pretreatment baseline was compared to the post-training follow-up period along seven indices of headache activity. Results indicated that primarily non-specific factors and to a lesser extent, specific temperature factors contribute to the therapeutic gains observed in migraine therapy.

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