Do Daith Ear Piercings Help Prevent Migraine Experts Review
Posted by Carl Cincinnato | Nov 18, 2015 | Treatments | 115
A special type of daith ear piercing for migraine has been circling in the press and social media as a potential treatment. The Huffington Post, Daily Mail and even beauty publications are talking about this alternative potential treatment for migraine.
But does it really work? When it comes to getting all the facts, it can be difficult separating hype from reality.
How Does Ear Piercing Relate To Migraines
Migraines are persistent and severe headaches that can cause nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines are a relatively common condition, impacting an estimated 21% of women and 10% of men¹ in the US.
There are numerous treatments available for migraines, including over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as avoiding triggers when possible. Some people also undergo acupuncture treatment. It involves inserting small, hollow needles around the body to help balance what is referred to as Qi, or energy that flows through the body.
Although there is some evidence to show that acupuncture can cause changes in the brain that produce certain neurological effects, there havent been enough studies to recommend it as a primary treatment for any conditions.
The way that ear-piercing relates to migraines is that some non-medical people claim that the conchal cartilage of the ear is considered a pressure point associated with migraines. Having an ear piercing in that area is thought to put constant pressure on the point, relieving migraines.
Heres What You Need To Know About Daith Piercing For Migraine
A daith piercing is a piercing located in the innermost cartilage fold of the ear. Its a specific type of piercing in the ear cartilage midline toward the front of the ear . This type of piercing has been done for thousands of years, but can be quite painful due to the bony cartilage and care is required to keep it clean and prevent infections.
The name of this type of piercing is only thought to have begun in the 1990s.
As many of us with migraine know, when traditional approaches for treatment fail we often turn to complementary alternatives.
Acupuncture is a common alternative approach. There are a few theories as to how the daith piercing may help those with migraine.
Dr. Chris Blatchley from the London Migraine Clinic suggests that the daith piercing might be effective is because the piercing point is through the area innervated by the cutaneous afferent branches of the Vagus Nerve which travel centrally to an area close to the trigeminocvervical complex. Dr. Blatchley admits that the neuroanatomy of the vagus nerve is anything but simple.
Others claim the daith piercing is effective because it occurs on the same pressure point on the ear that is used by acupuncturists to treat migraine.
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Can Ear Piercing Help Migraines
A daith piercing is a type of ear piercing that runs through the fold of cartilage that sits right above your ear canal. This piercing became popular as an alternative remedy for migraines through social media posts and comments on online migraine forums.
There have also been individual reports of people whose migraines improved after getting a daith piercing. One 2017 report showed that a middle-aged man who was unable to get relief from medications had a major reduction in migraines after getting a daith piercing.
Researchers believe that the piercing could potentially help because this area of your ear is connected to the vagus nerve, which carries pain signals to your brain, says Fayyaz Ahmed, MD, a neurologist and honorary professor at Hull York Medical School.
Early studies have found that you can stimulate your own vagus nerve using a handheld device to send an electrical pulse into the side of your neck. This method may help treat migraines, but there’s no evidence that a daith piercing can have the same effect.
Getting a daith piercing in a specific pressure point could theoretically help migraines by continuously stimulating your vagus nerve but it would require an extremely precise placement of the piercing.
The American Migraine Foundation states that a piercing practitioner who isn’t trained in acupuncture probably wouldn’t be able to properly place the daith piercing. And even if the piercing is precise, there’s no guarantee that it would offer relief.
Daith Piercing Reviews: The Ugly
Are daith piercings dangerous? Not quite, but they do come with risks, of course.
The piercing process itself can be painful, and the area can remain tender for weeks while it heals. As with any piercing, the daith piercing also carries a risk of infection. For a few of the people who wrote in, the experience was unpleasant:
Expect pain.“No daith piercing for me. I’m too scared.” Judy B.
They can close up if the jewelry is removed.“Tried both daith piercing and acupuncture, no relief for me with either. Had to take the daith piercings out for an MRI and they closed over anyway. Even though they didn’t work I was going to keep them because they were cute, but as a migraine sufferer you’re always having tests and removing jewelry anyway!” Peta H.
It might make it worse, or disappoint.” I did not receive any relief from my headache piercing, in fact, I think it made them worse. I had it for 10 days, had migraines for most of those days and ended up taking it out because it was just the most terrible headaches I have ever had. Not to mention I had a rejection and now two weeks after having it removed I am still having migraines every day and there is pressure on the inside of my ear. I got mine pierced at a reputable establishment where they do thousands of these yearly. It is all about your individual anatomy, I’m not too sure there is a cure for migraines. Good luck to anyone who has had results, I hope it continues for you and you have relief.” Sharon P.
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What Does A Daith Piercing Have To Do With Migraine
Acupuncture is a common treatment for migraine, and some claim there is an acupuncture pressure point on the same spot in the ear that corresponds to the digestive system. This theory first spread on social media and was popularized on Facebook and Pinterest. Dr. Will Foster, an acupuncturist in Knoxville, Tennessee, confirms that this is a pressure point associated with digestive organs in that part of the ear. The belief is that wearing an earring in your daith provides constant compression to that pressure point, which many believe can relieve pain, especially if acupuncture in the same spot has been effective for you in the past. But Foster noted that this theory hinges on a piercer puncturing a very precise pressure point, which is unlikely to be achieved without an acupuncturists guidance, and even then, could not guarantee relief.
Do Daith Piercings Actually Help Migraines
If you are considering going for a daith piercing, you must know more about it to understand what it is all about, how it is done and how to take care of the new piercing.
The effects of daith or migraine piercing have not been officially investigated. It makes it difficult to determine the authenticity of the claims regarding their effectiveness. People who enjoy piercings and body art can give it a try as it is a simple and inexpensive procedure, and opting for it is a personal choice. There is no real scientific evidence that suggests bypassing regular migraine treatment in favor of piercing can prevent the frequency or intensity of migraine headaches.
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Ive Learned To Say: I Have Migraine And Cant Do That
Robert Cowan, MD, FAAN, professor of neurology and chief of the headache division at Stanford University, told Migraine Again,
“There is no evidence of which I am aware that supports the use of daith piercing for migraine. There is a very specific acupuncture point on the ear that has to to with the digestive system but it is very tiny and very specific. The hole you make with a piercing is like using a steam shovel for a fence post. There have been no positive double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies to provide clinical support and there is no scientific data to suggest a reason it should work.”
Even so, migraine symptoms drive us to try crazier things than an ear piercing, and the lack of clinical evidence is not stopping many, many people with migraine from giving it a shot.
“The only positive support I have heard has been anecdotal,” said Dr. Cowan. “This usually means that the perceived benefit is placebo . There would be nothing wrong with that if the procedure were safe. In general, all migraine studies have a high placebo rate, so this is not surprising.”
For many, the cost/benefit seems attractive: for $40 to $50 per piercing, it’s less expensive and no more painful than other needle-based therapies we’ve tried for migraine relief. But daith piercings can take a long time to heal and run the risk of infection.
Why Would The Daith Piercing Help Migraines
The theory on why the daith piercing can help migraines is based in acupuncture.
There is a pressure point that acupuncturists target located on the daith that has been found to relieve the pain caused by migraines and severe headaches.
Piercing this spot can sometimes provide the same or partial relief.
One of my close friends spent several months studying acupuncture in China, so I asked her opinion on this.
She said its definitely worth a shot. She also suggested that I pierce the same side the pain is on
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Daith Piercing Reviews: The Bad
Even while some people noticed results with the migraine piercing, many noticed no results, slight results, or only temporary improvement. The following daith piercing reviews for migraines show the negative side.
Relief was only temporary:It worked for a month or so while there was built-up pressure from the healing of a new piercing. When it was fully healed, it no longer worked the same. But, it provided relief for a few months.Hannah S.
The migraine piercing worked at first. Not after it healed. Oh well, I like the piercing anyway.
Looks cool, but didnt help.I had both ears done with the ear piercing for migraines no relief at all for hemiplegic migraines but my migraines are atmosphere-related not digestive. I wish I had read this before I tried it. I know someone who had great results. If youre not sure I would try it and if nothing else youll have a hip piercing. Seeing an acupuncturist first is a very good suggestion. Kimberley G.
The daith piercing helped slightly. I get better pain relief from occipital nerve block shots. Joy L.
Daith piercing didnt work for me. Acupuncture is next for me. Am forever hopeful that something will work. Lis M.
Got the ear piercing for headaches its just pretty, didnt help at all. Angela M.
I have Chiari and daily chronic migrainesgot the daith and unfortunately didnt help one bit. Tanya B.
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How Long Does A Daith Piercing Take To Work For Migraines
Healing generally takes up to 2 months but for some people it can be longer as everyone’s bodies heal differently. It could be sore to touch durning the healing process so I recommend sleeping on the opposite side as to not bother the piercing. The less you touch and mess with the piercing the quicker it will heal.
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If You Decide To Get A Daith Piercing
If you decide to get one just to try it, or because you like the way they look, do it as safely as you can.
Find a piercing professional to get daith or any type of body piercing. Look for someone whoâs licensed, although each state has its own laws about who can pierce ears. Make sure you trust your piercer and feel confident about the process before you get started. Let your doctor know youâre thinking about a daith piercing so you can go over any potential health risks.
Any piercing studio should be clean, ventilated, and well lit, with a separate room for piercings. It should have a sink for the piercer to wash their hands before and after the procedure, and liquid soap and paper towels nearby, not reusable cloth towels. All equipment needs to be new or properly sterilized and always in unopened sterile packaging. Donât get a piercing in someoneâs home or a public bathroom.
Before you get a daith piercing, a professional piercer should do the following:
- Go over the procedure with you step by step
- Select the appropriate jewelry for this piercing
- Discuss possible risks and complications
- Review what to expect as your piercing heals
- Give you verbal and written aftercare instructions
Whats A Daith Piercing And What Does It Have To Do With Migraines
Before we get into whether a daith piercing helps with migraines, its a good idea to go over what a daith piercing is.
A daith piercing is a piercing in the place where the cartilage ridge inside your outer ear ends above the opening to your ear canal, the Cleveland Clinic explains. Its basically that little flap that extends from your face over your ear canal.
Seems random that piercing it would impact your migraines, right? But theres a reason why this has been floated out there. In acupuncture, this area is targeted to relieve migraine headache pain, explains Kiran F. Rajneesh MD, director of the Neurological Pain Division at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Trigger point injections can help migraine headaches and other kinds of pain, he says. Daith piercing may share a similar concept.
The thought, according to people who swear by this, is that piercing the spot can permanently get rid of migraines.
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Miss Demeanour Client Feedback After Having A Daith Piercing Done By Us To Treat Migraines
I got my daith done about two-three months ago now as I had 1-2 migraines a week that would sometimes last over a day. I refused to go on medication for it and gave this piercing a go. Ive only had 3 migraines since having this piercing, which has completely changed my life. Its definitely worth a shot from people who suffer from migraines.
I got mine done over 6 months ago and have had no migraine.. Had a couple of headaches .. So glad have had this done
I have no migraines at all only a couple of groggy headaches
Is There A Cure For Migraines
“A migraine is a neurological disease,” explains Dr. Halker Singh. In simplified terms, “it ultimately changes the whole pain processing pathway in the brain.” She says at least 1 billion people in the world have migraines, making it an extremely common condition globally. (
Despite its prevalence, however, there’s currently no “cure” for migraines, though researchers are closer to finding one than ever before, says Dr. Halker Singh. In fact, “2018 was a big year in the migraine treatment world because for the first time we FDA-approved preventative treatments for migraines that are based on our understanding of migraine pathophysiology .” That year, the Food and Drug Administration approved three migraine-specific treatments: Terenumab , fremanezumab , and galcanezumab â all of which are considered preventative medications as they can help reduce the frequency, severity, and length of your migraines, according to the Mayo Clinic. In 2019 and 2020, the FDA approved pain relievers ubrogepant and rimegepant , which stop migraine pain within two hours of taking in roughly 20 percent of patients, according to Science News.
“Things are changing all the time,”says Dr. Halker Singh. And, as evidenced by the past years’ advances in migraine meds, the range of potential treatments is hopefully going to continue to grow.
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Risks Of Migraine Piercings
Getting an ear piercing is a relatively straightforward process these days, especially when you go to a piercing shop that prioritizes sanitation and proper techniques. Still, getting a daith piercing isnt risk-free. The main concern for piercings of any kind, but especially with more complicated ones like daith piercings, is infection.
Infections from a daith piercing can be mild and go away on their own, or they may lead to sepsis and other more severe infections. Before going to get your daith piercing, do research on piercing shops in your area, and look for those that are committed to sanitation and safety.
It may be helpful to ask about which procedures the company uses to prevent infection, and what sort of training the piercing professional has undergone.
Besides infections, piercings can also result in skin problems such as allergic reactions or dermatitis.
Whats The Theory Behind Piercings For Pain Relief
The theory behind why piercings may offer pain relief is quite simple.
Acupuncturea form of treatment where needles are used to activate certain areas of the body for stress relief, muscle relaxation, and pain managementis a practice thats been in use for centuries, but one that has only relatively recently become common in Western societies. Regarded as pseudoscience by some, acupuncture has also provided relief to those who swear by it. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that acupuncture serves to aid the flow of energy within the body, and modern acupuncturists claim that the practice stimulates certain nerves to provide relief.
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