Posterior Cervical-Thoracic Thermograms: Pattern Persistence and Correlation with Chronic Headache Syndromes


  • Bernard Swerdlow M.D.,

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Medical Director
    1. University of Central Florida;
    2. Headache Treatment Center, Winter Park Memorial Hospital, Winter Park, Florida
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  • John Nathan Dieter B.S.

    Research/Clinical Assistant
    1. University of Central Florida;
    2. Headache Management Center, Winter Park, Florida
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These experiments investigate thermographic patterns in the posterior cervical/thoracic (PCT) region of 530headache patients and 30 headache/injury-free volunteers. The study examines: The longitudinal persistence ofProximal and Distal patterns; three distinct midline patterns (PCT I, II, and III); and their correlation with diagnosis,injury, and pain.

Twenty-four (80%) of 30 randomly selected subjects displayed unchanged Proximal patterns at the meanobservation period of 5.5 months. PCT pattern fluctuations occurred in 13/30 (43.3%) subjects. The distinctivenessof each subject's Proximal and Distal patterns was verified by blind calling of thermogram pairs. Patternpersistence was validated with alcohol spray-Patterns were identical regardless of using a 0.5°C or 1.0°Ctemperature setting. Temperature settings of 1.0°C yielded more distinct Proximal and Distal patterns.

Chi square analysis determined that there was no significant difference in the number of PCT III patterns in theexperimental or control groups.

In conclusion, it appears that Proximal and Distal Patterns may be consistent over time and individually unique,but that PCT patterns fluctuate and, therefore, do not correlate with chronic headaches.