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Actually, it’s not even that much hype. But you may have seen an article circulating about how piercings, specifically daith piercings, may eliminate migraine attacks.
Daith piercing is a specific type of ear piercing, where the pierce goes through the ear’s innermost cartilage fold (if you have enough fold to get it done). Here’s some more information, plus pictures, from Body Piercing Magazine.
So stories have started to circulate that daith piercings could cure migraine. Take for example:
- A “Piercing” New Alternative for Migraine Relief Summary: One nurse has never heard of it, but suggests you go for it. Especially if you “believe”. A man who does piercings for a living most definitely suggests you go for it.
- Woman claims her EAR PIERCING has cured the excruciating migraines that left her housebound and vomiting Summary: One woman claims that her migraine attacks disappeared after her piercings (we don’t know how long ago that was). Someone at the Migraine Relief Center in Texas apparently wrote a blog post stating that daith piercings may work like acupuncture, which may work. However, the post has been removed from their website.
- A “Piercing” New Alternative for Anxiety and Migraine Relief: New Findings Summary: Finally, some “Findings”! The same nurse still hasn’t heard of it. One woman has seen “some difference” in her headache symptoms, but isn’t sure the changes are related to the piercing. The same guy selling piercings still recommends them. Oops – what were the findings again?
- Can Daith Piercings Stop Migraines? Here’s What You Need To Know About The Growing Trend Summary: Oh, good, a “trend”! With actual Twitter testimonials! Oh, wait … one person has fewer attacks … a second person says things have improved … oh, that’s all.
- Lots Of People Are Saying This Piercing Has Completely Cured Their Headaches Summary: Ok, “lots of people”. Oops – just one person quoted.
I also found a Twitter “club” where people can share their success stories. On October 17th, the owner (Natalie Thompson) had gone 39 days since the piercing, with no migraine attacks. In an interview she stated that she would like to think the piercing was a “part” of her improvement. On November 2nd she asked Is this damp and foggy weather affecting anyone? Maybe not feeling so well now? However, the club does have 23 followers.
In most cases, the daith piercing is being compared to acupuncture, a treatment that unfortunately has been far more hype than actual evidence. But this isn’t acupuncture anyway, it’s daith piercing, so …
I checked a little more on social media, and discovered that some people found the piercing gave them a migraine attack, and others found no or very little difference.
We can speculate all we want about the science of why this might work, but the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t seem to be working for that many people. There are no clinical trials. I can’t find any doctors saying that they have x number of patients who have found it helpful.
So it all leaves me spectacularly unimpressed.
And as far as the advice,”Try it, why not?” – well, with all the excellent treatments out there, I can actually suggest some reasons why not. Use up your mental and emotional energy, and money, on something that has some good evidence behind it. And if you really like the look of a daith piercing – go for it, but realize it actually could give you a headache. At least for a while.
I’ll say this – it is a good illustration of a lot of what is wrong with media reporting on migraine.
For more, check out this article on Snopes: A Daith of Evidence