Ear Piercing for Migraines
Some individuals prefer non-traditional methods for treating their migraine pain. One of these methods involves an ear piercing called a daith piercing that is placed through the smallest fold of cartilage in the ear.2 This fold is located just above the ear canal, and can be difficult to pierce due to its location and small size. Some people report that having a daith piercing has resulted in migraine attacks that are less intense.2
The connection between ear piercings and migraines is rooted in acupuncture. Dr. Will Foster, a Knoxville, TN acupuncturist, has confirmed the existence of a pressure point that is associated with the digestive system in that part of the ear.2 Individuals who use acupuncture to treat their migraines regularly have this area targeted to relieve migraine headaches.3 Those who choose to get a daith piercing believe that the piercing’s constant compression of that pressure point may permanently relieve pain from migraines.4
Are Ear Piercings Effective in Treating Migraines?
Dr. Emad Estemalik, the Section Head for Headache and Facial Pain at the Center for Neurological Restoration at Cleveland Clinic, says that there is no medical research that supports the claim that a daith piercing actually gets rid of a migraine.3 Even if a person swears that the piercing is helpful, Dr. Estemalik believes that a placebo effect is likely at work.3
Dr. Estemalik believe that there is no scientific evidence or clinical trial results that support ear piercings as a solution to migraines.3 He adds that “receiving a piercing in that area will not alter the pain pathway of the migraine.”3
This statement is backed up by Dr. Kevin Weber, a neurologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who states that there haven’t been any randomized, controlled clinical trials to prove if a daith piercing actually helps.4
How to Manage Migraine Pain
While migraine headaches cannot be cured, they can be effectively managed. There are two main treatment approaches that involve medication. The first is called abortive, or acute, where medication is taken at the first sign of a migraine, while the pain is mild.1 This method functions by helping to stop or decrease migraine symptoms so that you can get on with your day without being completely incapacitated. The other type of treatment is referred to as preventative; these drugs are usually prescribed when migraines are severe, frequently occurring, and significantly interfere with daily life.1
Many individuals find that over-the-counter medications are effective for managing mild to moderate migraines and their symptoms. Excedrin® Migraine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating these headaches.1 In clinical studies, patients experiencing moderate to severe migraines found effective relief from their symptoms with just one dose. This acute pain management drug contains acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.
Treating migraines can take some trial and error as you find the solution that works the best for you and your symptoms. Ear piercing for migraine relief may sound like a great way to permanently relief your headaches, but it is scientifically unfounded. You may find that you are best able to manage your pain with clinically proven medication.