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My Experience Getting A Daith Piercing for Migraine Control

Updated: May 19, 2023

There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. When the root cause cannot be found, and relief isn't happening, many migraine sufferers, myself included, have opted for a daith piercing.

daith piercing

As someone who has suffered from chronic migraines with and without aura since I was 14, finding relief has been a long road. It started with seeing a neurologist and being prescribed medications. I was never asked about diet, water intake, or foods I was eating, nor did we ever discuss potential migraine triggers. I didn't learn about all that until my late 20s. I learned about food sensitivities, decided to do an elimination diet, and found that even certain smells (especially seafood) triggered my migraines.


But first, how do you identify the type of migraines you're having? Well, if you read Earthley's, A Guide to Headaches & Migraines, which I co-wrote, you'd know a migraine with aura, also called classic migraine or complicated migraine, is a recurring headache that strikes after or simultaneously with a sensory disturbance or warning known as an aura (1). These disturbances can produce symptoms such as (2):

  • Seeing bright flashing dots, sparkles, or lights

  • Blind spots in your vision

  • Numb or tingling skin

  • Speech changes

  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)

  • Temporary vision loss

  • Seeing wavy or jagged lines

  • Changes in smell or taste

  • A "funny" feeling

Migraine aura symptoms include temporary visual or other disturbances that usually strike before other migraine symptoms – intense head pain. You may also experience disturbances such as (3):

  • Upset stomach or vomiting

  • Hot flashes and chills

  • Stuffy or runny nose

  • Dizziness or spinning (vertigo)

  • Sore neck or jaw

  • Sensitivity to light, sounds, smells, touch, or motion

  • Confusion

  • Muscle weakness

A migraine without aura, sometimes called a common migraine or hemicrania simplex, is the most common type, accounting for 75 percent of migraines (4). Migraines without aura typically last between four hours and three days. The frequency of these attacks varies from every few years or several times a week (5).


And finally, chronic migraines are characterized by the experience of at least 15 migrainous headache days per month and are highly disabling. Patients with chronic migraine present to primary care, are often referred for management to secondary care, and comprise a large proportion of patients in specialist headache clinics (6).


I have tried many of the mainstream solutions over the years, including but not limited to the following:

  • NSAIDs (Advil Migraine)

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

  • Sumatriptan (Imitrex)

  • Topiramate (Topamax)

  • Tizanidine (Zanaflex)

  • Botox injections (Botulinum Toxin)

I never had long-term relief, my dosages were consistently increasing, and my quality of life wasn't excellent because I always had a migraine. The mainstream solutions were not working long-term and seemed to only band-aid the problem, even after I figured out my most common triggers.


Since getting my daith piercings, my migraines have been mostly controlled, especially while using herbal solutions for migraine control. I can't say they're 100% gone, but I've found 75% relief with my migraines from the piercings, making it much easier to ease migraine pain naturally when they occur.


During the healing process, the most common time I struggled with a migraine was when I had a keloid, and I will discuss natural healing methods in the Healing Process Of A Daith Piercing section.


Nonetheless, after researching and finding I have utilized all other techniques of migraine control, I was willing to take the risk with a daith pricing, and I've had no regrets, but I would not recommend this as the first course of action.


 

What Is A Daith Piercing

A daith piercing pierces through the smallest fold of cartilage in your ear, right at the point where the outer ridge that runs along the top of your ear connects to your inner ear, just above the ear canal. This piercing does not have a lot of science to back it up, primarily theories, but many migraine sufferers, myself included, have found great relief after the piercing has fully healed.


According to the American Migraine Foundation:

“This theory first spread on social media and was popularized on Facebook and Pinterest. Dr. Will Foster, an acupuncturist in Knoxville, Tennessee, confirms that this is a pressure point associated with digestive organs in that part of the ear. The belief is that wearing an earring in your daith provides constant compression to that pressure point, which many believe can relieve pain, especially if acupuncture in the same spot has been effective for you in the past (7).

This method is usually used as a last resort for many because there is no guarantee it will work, and the healing process is long and tedious. One study with 380 participants with a daith piercing found that 47.2% experienced a reduction in migraine frequency (8). In another study, 64% of participants with a daith piercing experienced decreased migraine frequency, while 31% stayed the same, and 5% got worse (9).


If a daith piercing is something you're considering, keep in mind that you want to pierce the side that gets headaches. So if you get right-sided migraines predominantly, get the right ear done or the left side for left-sided migraines. If you are someone who gets them on both, like me, get both sides pierced.


Preparing For A Daith Piercing

My first recommendation is to buy a travel pillow before you go to get your piercing. You will want to sleep on that to ensure you are not putting pressure on the piercing. This will also help prevent the piercing from getting bumped, tugged, or snagged while sleeping. Initially, I had ordered this pillow, but it didn't work half as well as the travel pillow.


After you've got your pillow, you should thoroughly research piercers in your area. You do not want to get a piercing done in a mall but in a private, clean location. You want to be sure the piercer has a good reputation with great reviews. Check their Instagram, Google, Facebook, etc., and don't settle for less than 4.5 stars.


When you arrive to get your piercing, the piercer should be prepared to answer any and all questions. If they try to claim this piercing will 100% prevent your migraines, it's probably best to find a new piercer because that is 100% false. My piercer was very quick to say this is not a guarantee to work and explained that if I wasn't seeing relief within a month, I should consider taking it out to avoid the long and tenuous healing process that lies ahead.


When you're ready to be pierced, you should ensure the piercing needle(s) are fresh out of the package and that the body jewelry is soaking in a sterilizing solution (even if it's fresh out of a new package). Ensure your piercer is using clean gloves that have been changed since their previous client and that they are not touching other things with the gloves on to prevent cross-contamination.


The piercing is not pleasant. My first side (left) hurt less than the second (right), and I slightly shifted on the table, which is why I think I had more frequent issues with the right side. This was at no fault of the piercers. I highly suggest doing your best not to move while the piercing is being done, as there is a specific trigger point they're aiming for, and moving will result in a lower success rate.


Healing Process Of A Daith Piercing

It's important to understand that this piercing has a long and tedious healing process. Daith piercings typically take nine months to heal compared to 1-2 months for an earlobe piercing (13). In my case, it took about ten months to heal completely, and I struggled with reoccurring keloids, especially on the right side, because I kept falling asleep on that side.


As per my piercer, the following is expected while a daith piercing is healing:

  • Discharge: Your body purges dead skin cells as it heals; it is normal and should be white or clear. If it should turn yellow or green, you should contact your piercer.

  • Crusties: This is discharge gathered at either the entrance or exit of the piercing. These will either get swabbed off while cleaning or come off independently.

  • Swelling: This can be prominent for the first 3-5 days. Swelling can go away but come back for many reasons (pressure, getting bumped or tugged, jewelry snagging, etc.). Treating swelling to avoid pain and prevent jewelry from embedding or migrating is important.

The piercer will recommend a saline solution, usually H2Ocean Purified Ocean Salt Water. I wasn't a fan of the ingredients (Purified Water, Sea Salt, Lysozyme, Sodium Citrate), so I skipped on that recommendation and made my own by adding the following to a 4-ounce spray bottle:

I used this homemade solution 4-5 times daily to clean my piercings using a fresh Q-tip each time the Q-tip touched my piercing to avoid reintroducing germs. While cleaning, I did my best to remove any discharge or loose crusties.


I used cold compresses for 10-15 minutes at a time and took Earthley's Anti-Inflammatory for inflammation alongside Earthley's Pain Potion for pain relief as needed.

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As I said, I struggled with reoccurring keloids. Symptoms of a keloid include:

  • Thick, irregular scarring, typically on the earlobes, shoulders, cheeks, or middle chest

  • Shiny, hairless, lumpy, raised skin

  • Varied size, depending on the size of the original injury and when the keloid stops growing.

  • Varied texture, from soft to firm and rubbery

  • Reddish, brown, or purplish, depending on your skin color

  • Itchiness

  • Discomfort (10)

In my experience, I always knew a keloid was forming because it would hurt when I was facially expressive, such as smiling. Yes, it would be physically painful to smile before and during the duration of the keloid. At first, I didn't know what to do for the keloid. My piercer suggested cold compresses and Tylenol, but if you've read my previous post, The Truth About Acitominophen, you know that wasn't an option, so I asked an herbalist what they recommended, and they didn't disappoint.


The herbalist recommended that crushed garlic be applied directly to the keloid. They recommended leaving it for 15 minutes, rinsing it off with plain water (not saline), and moisturizing the area. Contrarily, my piercer said not to put anything aside from a saline solution on it and recommended against astringents such as bactine, alcohols (including facial cleansers, body washes, perfumes in personal care products, and hand sanitizers), peroxide, etc. because they're too harsh and will essentially eat away at the tissue trying to heal. They also recommended against ointments and lotions such as bacitracin, Neosporin, body lotions, sunscreen, etc., because they're too heavy and will prevent the body from purging its natural discharge. Personally, I was comfortable using a very thin layer of Earthley's All-Purpose Salve, as the ingredients are 100% natural and not too heavy.


I must warn you, the crushed garlic works like a charm and destroys keloids within days when only using it 1-2 times daily, but it is painful. It's almost like the garlic is burning off the keloid. According to studies, garlic works similarly to aspirin, blocking certain enzymes from entering the site that contributes to tissue and pigment buildup. Additional health benefits of garlic that may contribute to this effective natural remedy include (11):

  • Wound healing properties

  • Antibacterial properties

  • Antiviral properties

  • Antifungal properties

  • Promotes skin rejuvenation

⚠️ Warning: The Holistic Hipppie is not a functional medicine practitioner. The FDA has not evaluated these statements. This content is not medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or replace medical guidance. The Holistic Hipppie assumes no liability for the application of the information discussed.


Have you considered a daith piercing for migraine control?


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