One of my patients yesterday informed me about this possible alternative treatment for migraine sufferers called daith piercing. It intrigued me so much I looked up some information on it straight away, here’s what I found…
Daith piercing is where they pierce the cartliage inside the ear at the top of the canal (see picture below). It look painful but probably no more painful that getting your actual ears pierced. The possible benefits of daith piercing for migraine pain relief was talked about on the television show ‘The Doctors‘ and was written about early this year during the height of the daith piercing hype by the Huffington Post.
The first thing I quickly discovered is that there is absolutely no scientific evidence backing this; it is all anecdotal evidence. Some people have reported reduction in migraine occurrence, increased effects from medication and reduced symptoms when they do have a migraine. Others felt no difference and for some it made them worse. However there is plenty of research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for migraines and that’s exactly the theory behind the daith piercing; that it is continually stimulating an acupressure point associated with migraines. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the daith point is close to the acupressure points for muscular relexation, for the neck and the shoulders (see picture below).
Migraines are debilitating things. Some migraines come with a extremely painful headache along with other symptoms and some don’t actually cause pain but still cause other symptoms such as loss of vision, auras and nausea. Migraines can induce vomiting, nose bleeds, pins and needles and even loss of sensation in as much as half the body. It is no wonder migraine sufferers are reaching for alternative and seemingly simple to try treatments. Unfortunately it is not that simple. There are multiple causes of migraines so it is very important to seek medical aid and try to work out or at least rule out serious causes of your migraines first. One of my main concerns when treatments like this come out is that people will self diagnose and go get a piercing without getting medically checked out first. I don’t usually speak in a alarmist tone but there are some serious things that can cause bad headaches and migraines so GET CHECKED OUT!!
If you consider all the information above, here are some steps to getting some relief for your migraines.
- Seek medical advice and determine the cause of your migraine or at least rule out some serious causes of bad headaches and migraines first.
- If the acupressure point is going to do the trick, it should work simply by applying some pressure to the daith area for about 30-60 seconds, I would try this less invasive and possibly equally as effective technique before getting the piercing.
- According to TCM, the daith point relates to muscles, the neck and the shoulders. Perhaps go get some Myotherapy treatment on your neck and shoulders, fix faulty posture that might be placing excess strain on these areas, talk to a Nutritionist to see if you diet is rich in foods to help your muscles such as magnesium, potassium and collagen protein just to name a few. In other words treat the cause not the symptoms.
- Try other researched migraine relief treatment such as acupuncture (Myotherapists use dry needling), botox injections and recommended medications by your doctor or specialist.
If in the end you decide to give daith piercing a go, make sure you let your medical team know before hand and let them guide you through the pros and cons for your particular case.
If you have already had this procedure or are going to have it done I would love to hear about your experience. Please share or feel free to write me a personal email at firstname.lastname@example.org