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Pain Thresholds in Daily Transformed Migraine
Versus Episodic Migraine Headache Patients
Madeleine B. Kitaj, MD and Michelle Klink, Ph.D.
Posted: November 2005  
Headache 2005;45:992-998


Objective:  The objective of this study was to test whether pain thresholds of patients with episodic migraine (EM) are significantly different from transformed migraine (TM).

Background:  Although there are many theories, none have undeniably proven why many TM patients are refractory to triptans and other gold standard medications. The hypothesis was that baseline pain thresholds of TM patients are lower than EM patients.

Conclusions:  TM patients, clinically known to report skin hypersensitivity during migraine, were found to have lower pain thresholds than EM patients, both with severe migraine, and at baseline. As with Bursteinís work in EM patients with lowered pain thresholds during their acute migraine, central sensitization may be the explanation for non-responsiveness to triptans in a high proportion of TM patients. The difference in pain threshold at the neck location was such a strikingly frequent difference between EM and TM patients, that this indicates the need for future research to clarify the directional relationship and the relative importance of muscular versus peripheral versus central hypersensitivity in the determination of allodynia.