Have a piercing migraine? Get an ear piercing! (? or maybe not…)

Have a piercing migraine? Get an ear piercing! (? or maybe not…)

If you haven’t heard of a Daith piercing, you are not alone.  That is the proper name for an earring that is placed through that little triangle of cartilage that sits in the front middle of the entrance to our ear canal.

Whether this is fashionable or not is almost as debatable as whether or not it can help headaches.  There is a large community of migraine sufferers out there who swear that having a Daith piercing has cured or significantly ameliorated their chronic headaches, but just as many people exist who report no abatement in their symptoms.

The idea behind why it may work is rooted in acupuncture/acupressure, since the tragus (that little cartilaginous area) is a known pressure point target in those techniques.  One of the early advocates of this piercing (Dr. Will Foster) believed that having a piercing there provided constant pressure and therefore constant relief/effect on the correlating body systems.

Many people’s migraines correlate with GI symptoms (i.e. food triggers or association with stomachaches) and since that spot relates to digestive organs, it would seem to follow that it could help those select patients, but certainly not all migraines have a GI corollary and that may be one reason for the disparity in the effectiveness of this piercing.  The thing most neurologists would tell you though, is that there is NO evidence or research to back up the claim that a piercing can cure a headache, and most docs would warn against getting one, especially since that specific spot on the ear can take quite a while to heal, and is one of the most common sites to get infected.  That being said, if you are already planning on getting one and happen to be a migraine sufferer, there is a chance that you may get an unexpected side benefit other than the aesthetic.

If you aren’t into body jewelry but are still interested in non-pharmacologic treatments, other options include Botox, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, chiropractic spinal manipulation, yoga, tai chi, and hypnotherapy.  If you have tried all of that already, and have gone through med after med, then you may be a candidate for surgery.  Yes surgery, for a headache.  MISON and MIGONE are only two of the recent surgeries being utilized for treatment of refractory migraines, but they certainly are not for everyone, and a typically a last resort.  Talk to your neurologist for more information.

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