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Daith Piercings as Migraine Treatment - An Alternative Treatment Option

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The cartilage ridge that joins the ear canal and outer ear is where a Daith piercing is placed. Read to know how daith piercings are used for treating migraine.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Pandian. P

Published At November 15, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 21, 2023

Introduction:

Migraine is a condition characterized by severe and recurrent headaches. This type of headache can disturb day-to-day activities. Several therapies treat migraines, such as acupressure, aromatherapy, acupuncture, etc. One surprising practice that has been found in treatment is daith piercing for migraines. This practice for treating migraine has recently been a trending debate on social media. However, scientific pieces of evidence have yet to be available. Get migraine prescriptions online through a telemedicine portal or at an in-office doctor's visit.

What Is Daith Piercing?

A Daith piercing is done in the cartilage ridge connecting the outer ear to the ear canal. It can be done in one or both ears. This piercing for headaches is believed to relieve migraine headaches, so people take daith piercings as an alternative to medicines. A daith piercing is a type of ear piercing for headaches that occurs through the tiniest fold of cartilage in the ear, just above the ear canal, where the outer ridge that runs along the top of the ear joins the inner ear. It can be challenging to pierce at times due to the little, curved portion of cartilage, and most individuals don't change their jewelry very often afterward. If not properly cared for or pierced, it can quickly become infected and take months to cure. However, some migraine sufferers claim that the daith piercing they have reduces their agony during migraine attacks; as a result, some people seek out daith piercing for migraines.

How Does Daith Piercing Help in Treating Migraine?

  • Daith piercings are found to affect the branch of the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the rest of the body.

  • The pressure produced at the pierced spot works like acupuncture which targets a point to block the pain receptors. However, it differs from the exact point where the ear piercing for headaches is done. The piercing is done one centimeter away from the acupuncture point.

  • Some believe that Daith piercings provide a placebo effect. The placebo effect is the relief from a condition after treatment because of the belief the treatment will work.

Since the theory behind the Daith piercings is not proven with scientific evidence, doctors do not recommend Daith piercing for relieving migraines. Also, the side of piercing does matter in case it is done for treating migraine. Therefore, the piercing for headaches should be on the side of the migraine headache.

Is There Any Scientific Proof That Daith Piercing Treats Migraine?

No research supports the theory of using daith piercing for migraine treatment. No clinical trials have been conducted so far. It is just the people who already suffered from migraines who found relief after the Daith piercing. Even the migraine foundation believes these results are just temporary and are due to the placebo effect. So usually, physicians do not recommend daith piercing due to the risks of infection and pain experienced during the procedure.

Who Should Not Get a Daith Piercing?

  • Individuals with hemophilia.

  • Diabetic individuals.

  • Individuals with autoimmune conditions.

  • Any other medical conditions that result in impaired healing.

Why Is Daith Piercing Not Effective for Migraines?

People with migraine are found to be affected by certain types of triggers, such as bright light, fatigue, etc. In addition, and scientifically, it is believed that migraines are due to expanding and narrowing of the brain's blood vessels. This expansion of blood vessels is due to hyperactive nerve cells, which release inflammatory mediators that result in the painful pulsation of the blood vessels. Thus the mechanism of migraine shows that daith piercing has no significant role in treating migraine.

What Are the Preparations to Be Done Before Piercing?

Following are the preparations supposed to be done for piercing

  • First, get to know if the patient can get a piercing.

  • Get to know the instructions to be followed after the piercing.

  • Check whether the procedure is affordable.

  • Talk to a professional about the benefits and risks before getting the piercing for headaches.

  • Select the jewelry and check whether the patient is allergic or not.

How to Care for the Daith Piercing?

Following are the tips for caring for the Daith piercing

  • Before touching the piercing, hands should always be washed.

  • Leave the earring undisturbed for at least 8 weeks for healing and to keep the hole open.

  • Wash the ear with soap and water regularly.

  • Twist the earring daily to keep the hole open.

  • Clean the ear with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol twice daily.

  • Change the pillowcase every few days to prevent any infection.

  • If extensive pain is felt or any signs of infection are noticed, reporting to the physician is a must.

What Is the Healing Time of Piercing?

It takes around 8 to 9 months to heal which is a long time when compared to an earlobe piercing where it takes only 2 or 3 months to heal. During healing, slight tenderness, redness, and bruising are normal. Later it gets reduced. The individual should not disturb the daith piercing during its healing period to hasten the process.

What Are the Side Effects of Daith Piercing?

A few risks are as follows

  • Pain: Since the piercing is done in the cartilage where it is difficult to pass through, there is extensive pain experienced by the individual.

  • Infection: Piercing at the ear cartilage shows an increased risk for infection and inflammation of the cartilage if not appropriately maintained. In some cases, bacterial infections can lead to sepsis.

  • Blood Infection: Using contaminated needles would result in blood infections such as hepatitis C.

  • Keloid: The area around the piercing would result in a thick pink scar. If there is a family history of keloid formation, consider the decision before piercing.

  • Skin Reactions: Dermatitis and allergic reactions due to the jewelry can also occur.

  • Nerve Damage: It can lead to loss of sensation.

  • Gets Tugged in Hair: Since the ear cartilage is close to the hair, it may easily get tugged.

  • Longer Healing Time: It takes a longer time to heal completely. It may take around eight months. However, healing varies from person to person.

What Are the Risks of Daith Piercing?

After getting a daith piercing, almost one-third of patients experience after-effects like infections. It is possible to contract blood diseases such as

  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

  • Hepatitis B or C.

  • Tetanus.

  • Serious infections like cellulitis.

  • Additionally, the patient may experience skin reactions such as dermatitis, allergic reactions, or keloid scars, which are massive tissue growths.

What Are the Alternatives to Treat Migraine?

A few of the alternate treatment options are as follows

  • Eat healthy food.

  • Avoid exposure to the triggers.

  • Manage the stress levels.

  • Hydration.

  • Painkillers would help reduce the symptoms.

  • Acupuncture.

  • Acupressure.

  • Auriculotherapy.

  • Botox.

  • Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation.

Conclusion:

No scientifically proven theory shows migraine can be treated by Daith piercing. Also, if the patient wants to try it, get an opinion from a physician, as it can also lead to serious side effects. Moreover, it is a painful procedure that nobody would like to experience, so it is better to choose an alternative treatment for treating migraine.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Do Daith Piercings Provide Any Benefits?

A Daith piercing is a form of ear piercing that traverses the ear's innermost cartilage fold. While anecdotal accounts suggest that some people believe it helps with migraines and anxiety, scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. The perceived benefits may vary from person to person, and it's essential to consult with a professional piercer for accurate information on the procedure and potential outcomes.

2.

Does Daith Piercing Pass Through a Nerve?

Yes, a Daith piercing typically passes through the ear's innermost cartilage fold, known as the crus of the helix. This area contains a cluster of nerves, including the auricular branch of the vagus nerve. However, the extent to which the piercing directly affects these nerves and benefits remains debatable and lacks conclusive scientific evidence.

3.

Which Ear Piercing is Known to Assist with Migraines and Anxiety?

The popularity of Daith piercings has surged over the past two decades, possibly due to assertions that these piercings could alleviate migraines. Some individuals view Daith piercings as a non-medication option for managing migraine pain.

4.

Does Daith Piercing Have Any Drawbacks?

There are drawbacks associated with Daith piercings. Individuals considering this type of ear piercing should be aware of potential issues such as infection, prolonged healing times, and the risk of complications. It's crucial to thoroughly research and Seek guidance from a professional piercer to make an informed decision about the potential drawbacks before getting a Daith piercing.

5.

Which Side Is Suggested for Daith Piercing for Migraine?

When aiming to address migraines, the decision of which side to get a Daith piercing is subjective. Some believe piercing the side corresponding to the headache location may be more effective, while others argue for piercing the non-dominant side.

6.

Which Piercing Is More Effective In Migraine - Daith or Tragus?

In managing migraines, the effectiveness of Daith versus Tragus piercings is subjective and varies among individuals. While some may find relief from migraines with a Daith piercing, others might favor the Tragus piercing. Personal preferences, pain tolerance, and individual responses to specific piercings play a role in determining which option might be more suitable.

7.

Can Daith Piercings Exacerbate Migraines?

Failure to maintain proper hygiene can cause infection in the wound, causing increased pain in the piercing. Additionally, there is a risk of exacerbating migraines or incorrect placement of the jewelry if not done carefully. Ensuring thorough cleanliness and professional handling during the piercing process is crucial to minimize potential complications.

8.

How Long Does It Typically Take for a Daith Piercing to Alleviate Migraines?

The duration for a Daith piercing to relieve migraines varies among individuals. While some may experience benefits relatively quickly, others may require a more extended period for the piercing to alleviate migraine symptoms potentially.

9.

Is It Very Painful to Get a Daith or Conch Piercing?

Regarding pain levels, the degree of discomfort experienced with a Daith versus Conch piercing varies from person to person. Pain tolerance is subjective, and individuals may have different perceptions of discomfort. Engaging in a discussion with a professional piercer is recommended to understand potential pain levels and make a decision that aligns with personal preferences and considerations.

10.

What Piercing Is Recommended for Migraines?

The Daith piercing, situated bilaterally at the crus of the helix, is gaining significant attention on social media as an alternative treatment for chronic migraines.

11.

What Motivates Individuals to Opt for a Daith Piercing?

Individuals get a Daith piercing for various reasons, including its potential association with alleviating migraines. Some people are attracted to its aesthetic appeal, while others may be intrigued by its perceived therapeutic benefits.

12.

What Level of Discomfort Can Be Expected During a Daith Piercing?

The discomfort associated with Daith piercings is moderate, primarily owing to the thickness of the cartilage. However, it's important to note that they do not rank as the most painful piercing option. If you have already experienced a conch piercing, anticipate a Daith piercing to be slightly less uncomfortable.

13.

Do Piercings Help With Managing Depression?

Theoretically, obtaining a Daith piercing involves applying continuous pressure to the vagus nerve. Vagus nerve stimulation has demonstrated efficacy in addressing health conditions such as depression and epilepsy. Ongoing research explores the potential of stimulating this nerve to treat various other conditions.

14.

Which Piercing Complements a Daith Piercing the Best?

Individual preferences are crucial when choosing an additional piercing to complement a Daith. Some may opt for piercings that create a balanced aesthetic, while others may choose complementary placements for a cohesive look.

15.

Can One Comfortably Sleep on a Newly Pierced Daith?

Regarding sleeping with a newly pierced Daith, it's crucial to exercise caution. Avoid putting direct pressure on the piercing; if possible, sleep on the opposite side to minimize disturbance. Using a clean and soft pillowcase can also reduce irritation. Always follow the aftercare instructions given by your piercer to encourage proper healing and prevent complications during the initial stages of the piercing.

Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Pandian. P
Dr. Pandian. P

General Surgery

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