A special type of daith ear piercing for migraine has been circling in the press and social media as a potential treatment. The Huffington Post, Daily Mail and even beauty publications are talking about this alternative potential treatment for migraine.
But does it really work? When it comes to getting all the facts, it can be difficult separating hype from reality.
Here’s what you need to know about daith piercing for migraine
A daith piercing is a piercing located in the innermost cartilage fold of the ear. It’s a specific type of piercing in the ear cartilage midline toward the front of the ear (see image). This type of piercing has been done for thousands of years, but can be quite painful due to the bony cartilage and care is required to keep it clean and prevent infections.
The name of this type of piercing is only thought to have begun in the 1990’s. (1)
As many of us with migraine know, when traditional approaches for treatment fail we often turn to complementary alternatives.
Acupuncture is a common alternative approach. There are a few theories as to how the daith piercing may help those with migraine.
Dr. Chris Blatchley from the London Migraine Clinic suggests that the daith piercing might be effective is because the piercing point is through the area “innervated by the cutaneous afferent branches of the Vagus Nerve which travel centrally to an area close to the trigeminocvervical complex”. Dr. Blatchley admits that the neuroanatomy of the vagus nerve is anything but simple.
Others claim the daith piercing is effective because it occurs on the same pressure point on the ear that is used by acupuncturists to treat migraine.
Acupuncture for migraine
There are at least 22 trials have investigated acupuncture in treating migraine. 6 trials have looked at adding acupuncture to an existing treatment regime. The findings showed those who had acupuncture had fewer headaches.(2)
14 trials compared true acupuncture to placebo or fake acupuncture treatments where needles were inserted superficially and did not penetrate the skin or at incorrect points. In these trials both groups had fewer headaches than before treatment, but there was no difference between the effects of these two treatments.
In 4 trials where acupuncture was compared to a proven medicinal treatment, participants receiving the acupuncture treatment reported a noticeable improvement in their condition and fewer side effects.(2)
Medical reviews suggest acupuncture for migraine holds little risk but the true clinical efficacy remains unclear despite extensive research. Whether these benefits translate across to a piercing in a pressure point location is another matter entirely.
To date no publication has interviewed a qualified acupuncturist to discuss this growing trend. Until now.
What do the experts think?
Dr Chris Booth is a nationally accredited acupuncturist with several practice locations around NSW, Australia. In our discussion he raised a few interesting points:
- The upper insertion point of the Daith piercing seems to correspond with the large intestine point used in Chinese auricular acupuncture. Large intestine channel points are often selected for the treatment of headache and migraine, and other forms of head pain, due to that channel’s pathway across the face, however the large intestine ear point is not one commonly used for these complaints.
- There are other points on the ear which are more important for the treatment of migraine.
- Other points near the Daith piercing location target the small intestine, appendix, mouth and esophagus – similarly, none of which have a particular affinity with the head or migraine.
- The location of acupuncture points on the ear are very specific. If the piercer was intending to pierce one of these points, they would really need to know how to accurately locate the point.
- Would there be any issue with having a permanent structure, or hole, at the site of an acupuncture point? Dr. Booth responded “I can’t say for sure, but there are plenty of examples of traditional techniques for altering the tissues at the site of a point. These include scaring the point by cutting, burning or chemically irritating the site with herbal pastes. These techniques would leave a permanent scar over the point.” (3)
Dr. Booth concluded that for those considering a piercing for the treatment of migraine his suggestion would be “to try some ear acupuncture from a qualified acupuncturist at the site first. Sub-dermal studs can be left in place, over the course of a few weeks, and would be a good way to test whether this is going to be an effective treatment for you.” (3)
Dr. Thomas Cohn, a US board certified interventional pain doctor says that “some people with Daith piercings have coincidentally found improvement with their migraine headache. It is not universal, and it has not been studied formally.”
He also goes on to say that the correlation is based on the success for some people with acupuncture in the same region of the Daith piercing.
If you’re sitting on the fence then Dr. Cohn suggests try visiting an acupuncturist to check if targeting that area helps with your migraine attacks. If it works, then it could be worth getting the piercing.
Dave Kurlander, owner of the Tempest Artistic Studio, NY performs the daith piercing for clients and is a big supporter. He said “it’s essentially the same concept as acupuncture… I recommend getting it done on the ear that corresponds with the side of your head where most of your migraines hit.”
He says “in the long run it’s a toss up, it may not cure your headaches but you will be left with an ear piercing. Hey, you win some you lose some right?”
Simon Evans, CEO of Migraine Action (a former national charity in the UK) said:
“We are always pleased when people gain some measure of relief from their migraine. Unfortunately, what works for one person can make the condition worse in others, so we have to treat the daith piercing with a degree of caution, especially in these very early days after the procedure has been done”.
“We would highly recommend that all migraine patients continue with the treatment that has been prescribed by their medical professional.”
James Cottril, patient expert, blogger and advocate for over 25 years wrote an article titled: “Why you should ignore the ‘daith piercings for migraine’ hype”.
After doing his own research and writing about it he was left “spectacularly unimpressed” and encourages others to “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.”
Whilst the evidence remains unclear, a number of anecdotal success stories have been voiced on social media like Twitter and Facebook.
Get access to MigrainePal’s research with over 1,100 daith piercings for migraine. Is it effective?
“I think it’s a bit like everything else we read or hear, someone I know got rid of the migraines when he/ she changed their diet, or only drank water, or eats 5 bananas every day (yes I have heard that one)… For some people, yes it may have an effect, for every one, no. I don’t have any food triggers, and only drink water. But my triggers are everything else, not enough sleep, too much sleep, bad sleep, low blood sugar, wind, cold temperatures and warm temperatures. Sunlight, sharp lights in general. Noise. Stress. I get a migraine just going to my mailbox if the weather is just right for it.” – Inge S
“The thing with this is that it’s on a pressure point. If you walk into any regular piercing parlor and get a Daith piercing, that doesn’t mean it’s going to help your migraines. You need someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to piercing AND pressure points. That way, they can put it in exactly the right area.” – Emma A
“I have horrible migraines and I’m currently taking 5 medications to help with them. I am willing to get this piercing to see if it works so I can get rid of all these medications. And if it doesn’t work I’m ok with it because I’ll have a new piercing Each person is different what might work for one person might not work for another.” – Roxann G
“They compare it to acupuncture for migraines. They stick the needles in the same place as the piercing. There are no studies. Some say it works 100%. Others say they had a headache til it healed then migraines were gone. Others said it didn’t work. I’ve read a ton on it. So, honestly, I have no idea if it depends on the person, placing of piercing, or placebo.” – Lauren E
“As cool as this sounds it is bull*%&# I have it pierced on both ears and have for almost 7 years and I still get really bad migraines.” – Bliss H
“I got it done. It didn’t help. The pain from the piercing radiated into my jaw and it took over six months to heal. Never again, no thank you.” – Michelle M
Doctors and specialists can’t really confirm whether this does or doesn’t work because there aren’t any medical studies or clinical trials for it (know a researcher in need of study topic?).
There are a few considerations you should be aware of before getting a new piercing.
Things to consider
- Piercings are typically less than $100 so this could be an economical treatment alternative if it works.
- The precise position is an important factor in the results you receive. Your acupuncturist may be able to test this, recommend someone, or mark the spot for an accurate piercing.
- Anecdotal feedback suggests you pierce the ear on the side where you most often experience your migraine attacks.
- Like many other treatments for migraine, what really helps for one person could potentially make things worse for another. Until clinical evidence emerges it will be an individual choice based on a ‘less-than-informed’ decision. If you enjoy piercings then this may be an easy decision.
- Beware of the “honeymoon effect”. This is a term often used to describe a patient’s first experience with a new treatment. After very encouraging and positive initial results for the first few months some patients may relapse into their old migraine pattern. The “honeymoon” period wears off and represents the placebo effect which is powerful itself. But not before everyone has been told how great this new treatment is. Are we simply hearing from everyone in their honeymoon phase on social media?
- How many people who try the piercing and within the first few weeks get out on social media to share how great it is, only to find a disappointing return to the status quo a few months down the track. Natalie Thompson is one person who tweeted “39 days and counting since my last migraine” but has since admitted that it has not eliminated her daily headache pain.
- There are definitely more established and proven treatments with clinical evidence to support their efficacy. Here are several proven options for migraine prevention >>
Ultimately the choice is yours. If you decide to try it, make sure you’re working with a qualified professional who knows what they are doing. A temporary stud from an acupressure expert may be a safe way to test for the first few months with someone who can accurately position. If successful then you can switch to a more permanent solution.
The last thing you need is an infected ear right on a potential migraine headache pressure point.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Get emailed a free copy of the daith piercing community poll results.
1,107 people share their results using the Daith Piercing for migraine. Grab this exclusive research and see the results over the first 6 months, 12 months and after 1 year.
Take the poll yourself:
Read part 2) Daith piercing poll results (n=1,107)
To see the results from hundreds of migraine patients with a daith piercing. Read part 2) of the Daith article here >>
- Dr. Thomas Cohn. ‘Migraines and Daith Piercings’. http://mnphysicalmedicine.com/2015/03/02/migraines-and-daith-piercings/ Accessed 17 Nov 2015.
- Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. “Acupuncture For Migraine Prophylaxis”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001218. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub2
- Dr Christopher Booth. Notes from personal interview on Daith piercings as a migraine treatment. www.acupuncturesydneyclinic.com.au Accessed 18 Nov 2015
I get mensural migraine for a solid week every month. My trigger is when I have my head at rest for a long period of time in the same position ( watching TV, using computer, reading, doing my job, sleeping) so I do ALWAYS end up triggering during that week cause everyone has to sleep. Also, I can not rest or relax it away because holding my head still is a trigger so I am forced to work through it to get any relief, house work job, walking ect. Still not enough relief because even if I’m feeling better by the end of the day I (again) still have to sleep, then I wake up ( usually early or still in the night) with the renued thunder in my head. I was skeptical of the piercing because the migraine is due to varying levels of hormones during my mensural cycle and not some begnine mysterious cause that other people have. My thoughts were – why would a piercing help with my hormones? I got my piercing on day 5 of my migraine not able to deal with the pain any longer ( and a total fear of piercings) I decided that it was worth a shot. I had my daith piercing done on the side of my migraine pain. The Piercer pinched from the bottom to the top and I told him when to stop when I felt the most pressure and relief. That is the spot he pierced. The piercing felt like a whole lot of pressure because they have to push your ear flat and a sting. Over the next hour after the pressure in my ear went down I noticed an immediate release of my migraine tension. I could still feel that it was there, they way you k ow it’s still there when your taking pain relief pills. I attributed it to me movi g around like normal to work through the pain. At the end of the night I was not looking forward to sleepiness g because my pain had been gone the whole day and I didn’t want to cause it to come back. So I grudgingly went to bed… And woke up with pain in my ear and no migraine! I finished the rest of my mensural cycle with an achy ear and a clear non painful head 🙂 the interesting thing is this.. When I get a migraine or feel it coming on, the muscles in that side of my neck tighten up so much they nearly bulge. The last few days of my mensural cycle they were loose and a little sore from being stiff so long… I would recommend this piercing to anyone who is suffering migraine pain for any cause. It’s definitely worth the trouble of trying.
I, too, get menstrual migraines. They sound very similar to yours….wake up near period with head pounding and jaw so tight, work it out throughout day just to go to sleep and do it all again. I’m curious if you have continued to have relief from the daith peircing?
Thanks for sharing your story Lea! I’d love to hear how you’re progressing in one or two months time. Often I find a honey moon effect with new treatments. So please do let us know if whether the results continue or not after 1-3 months!
My 19 year old daughter has been suffering with daily headaches and migraines for 4 years stemming from 2 concussions. We have tried all kinds of medications, acupuncture, cranial sacral therapy, nerve blocks, cryo-freeze blocks, biofeedback, Botox, vitamins and minerals, diet- anything anyone has suggested we have tried. Just got one of her daiths pierced and she is actually seeing a difference, so we are back to do the other ear. I think that for sure what is good for one is not good for another, BUT why discourage this? In the grand scheme of things- this is one needle, not 30+ like Botox. Try it!
Hi Kiera, fantastic result. It’s great that your daughter is getting results. Personally, I can’t make a call one way or the other yet because it’s not possible to tell how many people benefit, by how much. I remain cautiously optimistic and hope that someone, somewhere does a controlled study so that we can receive recommendations. In the meantime, its up to the individual to get the best information they can and then decide for themselves. Thank you for your comment 🙂
I have been suffering for migraines for many years, and I am considering getting a Daith piercing to see if it can help me get some relief. For those who have gotten a Daith piercing, Do you believe it can help? Is it actually effective, or is just a hoax?
Is it a hoax? No. This is their a gold standard of evidence to support it? No. Until clinical studies are conducted your answer will probably lie somewhere in between. If you read the article above it suggests a potential way to trial the (daith) pressure point without requiring a piercing which could have a permanent affect.
I am a. 73 year old woman who has suffer with Migraines since I was 27. I have tried every Botox and every RX Pain Killer available The only one that worked and I used for many. Years was Staydol but of course it’s off the market now. About a month ago I had a Daith Piercing. About 2 weeks later I realized my headaches had decreased to 2/3 per week and Excedrine Migraine would get rid of them in about 20 minutes. Now I am going to have the other ear pierced to see if I can END my HEADACHES COMPLETELY.
Great result Judy! I’m very excited for you. Please let us know how you get on after a few more months.
Nikki B, Got my daith piercing 2 mos ago after a miserable 10-day migraine. I’ve since had a few little headaches, when they start to come on I press on the piercing for about 30 seconds and poof, it’s gone. I’m not a Dr. but I know what works for me. I wish I’d heard about it and done it sooner!
Just got mine a day ago its worth a try it does not hurt at all
Love love love my daith piercing. One week 2 days. No headaches and no stress. Hooray!! Will keep you updated. 😃😃
Great result Michelle! Yes please do come back and let me know how you’re going! I, as well as other readers, would love to hear back from you.
Hi Carl. Now going into my 3rd week. Headaches after work were a real nightmare. Headaches would always always occur if I have alcohol then just stop, No headaches since this piercing. Still so very grateful. Yes it’s still early days, but I know the patterns I know when they occur. I am loving this piercing.
Fantastic Michelle! In the comments at least we’re certainly hearing more success stories than not. Fingers crossed these results are still delivering after 2-3 months. I’d be fascinated to find out.
3rd week. Still love it. I have not had 1 headache. I always always get a headache if I have an alcohol drink during the day then stop drinking. Since this piercing nothing! I always get a headache after work on Friday doing so many massages. Since this piercing, nothing. I am super excited about this. I love it. Such a relief. Yes, it’s still early days, but so far, wow.
That’s fantastic Michelle. It seems like there is an overwhelmingly positive response so far! Keep us all in the loop in the next couple weeks!
I had my right daith pierced Feb. 23. I haven’t had a migraine since, and the migraine I had at the time I got the piercing was gone by the time I left the store. This has been a game changer for me. I’ve had migraines for 30 years, have multiple triggers and has been on lots of meds. I’m so glad I did it!
Woah! That’s incredible. Congratulations Cindy, I’m so happy you’ve had such an amazing result. Have you come across others who’ve tried it for that long. How have they progressed?
I have had migraines for most of my life. I get them over/behind my eyes and they are almost always related to a change in pressure and weather – anytime it is about to rain, they start and sometimes don’t stop for days. I got a daith piercing on my left side in February of this year. After the piercing, I had a little discomfort in my ear, and the left half of my head felt a little off (a little pressure and tension might be the best way to describe it?) although nothing like a migraine. I used to get at least weekly migraines since it rains quite a bit where I live, and occasionally I would get a really nasty one. Since the piercing, I have had one horrible migraine that lasted for the better part of a week (I attribute a lot of it to tension and stress as it happened around the time of a family emergency), and maybe one or two that were more memorable when I didn’t have enough to eat for an extended period of time, but other than that, I have had far fewer headaches and only seem to have them on my right side – the side that’s not pierced. My friend got hers pierced at the same time, and she also has had almost no migraines since.
I went to a piercer who had a reputation for not only being a very good piercer, but specializing in daith piercings. I would definitely recommend it if you are wiling to take care of your piercing and can find someone reputable. I am planning to get the other side done as I’ve noticed more frequent headaches only on that side of my head.
Very interesting Kat. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m thinking I might have to try this soon too. Or, if I have a baby… I’ll keep a daith piercing as the "ace up my sleeve" for when I really need it. I can’t believe the positive results.
Hi, can you give me the number of the person doing the piercing.
Thank you so much
That’s difficult to estimate given that it is not something that is recorded in a consistent way. Having said that, we’ve had over 1,000 readers take the survey. All of whom were required to have had the piercing.
I hope that helps Alondra 🙂
One month since piercing. I’m in love with it. Still no migraines and still no headaches. The best thing ever. Make sure when or if you get the piercing it’s from someone that has done the training and knows exactly where to out it, otherwise it won’t work. It needs to go on the acupressure point. Feeling free at last.
Michelle, thanks for coming back with the update. Very impressive and congrats on you’re success!!
I suffered with migraines for years, regular hospitalisation and numerous lumbar punctures, MRIs etc.. I was on beta blockers which helped and then my migraines just stopped. The only thing I can attribute it to was giving birth to my youngest daughter 9 years ago – epidural was given but didn’t work? Don’t know how or why but they’ve stopped and I’m thrilled. Unfortunately my eldest daughter started getting migraines – visual disturbances, severe pain and vomiting and as i’d read about this piercing helping, I brought her to get it done. She’s had it in now for approx six months and hasn’t had one migraine! She was getting migraines once or twice a month prior to piercing.
My niece, also a bad migraine sufferer, has had hers done now approx 5 months and while she still gets the odd headache – they’re not day losing migraines and are almost always in the side of her head with no piercing. I’d definitely recommend it and if my migraines return I’ll be first in the queue to get it done! What have you to lose?
So glad to hear about your daughter’s improvement.
It’s interesting you mention the epidural. When the injection goes to far for an epidural it becomes a spinal tap. It is possible for fluid from the brain to ‘leak’ and result in low pressure headaches. It’s referred to as idiopathic intracranial hypotension.
If you had headache were related to your posture. i.e. worse upright, better lying down then it could be worth investigating. Normally after spinal tap the lining (dura) around the spinal fluid heals. But in some cases it may not heal.
Idiopathic intracranial hypotension is significantly underdiagnosed but something new mothers might benefit from knowing.
Carl- sorry to jump onto this post. I have just been reading through and have seen you mentioned IIH – I am a sufferer of this. Have you heard any stories of it helping with the head pains caused by this? As I’m struggling to find much related. I really look forward to a reply. Thank you
Hi Elizabeth, no I haven’t. IIH has to do with cerebrospinal fluid pressure. Best to address that specifically.
Where do you go to have this piercing done? A doctor? Dermatologist? Body piercing shop?
Hi Shandy, Body piercing shop. Remember these people aren’t medically trained and may not be familiar with exact placements so it’s really at your own risk. You can go to an acupuncturist to discuss getting a temporary stud or needle placed in the proper position to "test" the effect. These are semi permanent and can be removed.
Thanks very much Carl.
I had ten acupuncture sessions about five years ago. He put the needles in the bottoms of my feet. I don’t remember him putting anything in the cartilage of my ear. Between sessions he put this tiny bead high toward the back of my ear lobe that I was supposed to press on if I felt a migraine coming on. That seemed more productive than anything else. I quit because I had committed a specific amount of money to the experiment and unless it was very productive I wasn’t going to continue. I found the results neutral. The point of my post is that I just don’t remember anything about this piece of cartilage. Acupuncture is kind of sketchy anyway, but I would have at least expected him to know the right parts to poke. You expect a palm reader to know the love line from the life line, right?
Acupunture has been shown in studies to help people with migraine. But when they compared it to "sham" acupuncture or placing needles incorrect places, there was no difference in the benefit – however there was still a significant benefit.
When you think about it, when you visit an acupuncturist you lie down, listen to relaxing music in a comfortable warm environment and you get this attention, a kind of pampering for an hour or so. That kind of relaxation and time out when you having 3 kids, a stressful job etc. can be amazingly helpful.
The trick is to carve out that time for yourself and protect it.
I’ve had my right daith pierced for over twenty years. My migraines always start on the left side of my head and most often stay there. I got the first piercing simply because I thought it looked good. After hearing anecdotal evidence that the piercing can affect migraines I got the left pierced. Wow! I may still be honeymooning, but it nixed the migraine I had and I’ve not had another in the nearly four months since. I just get the plain old regular sort of headaches 😉
As with most piercings I find healing happens quickly if you clean away any discharge with sterile saline solution and use gentle face cleanser in the shower. I always follow with saline and rotate the clean jewelry through. It’s best not to sleep on it for a few weeks and I’m not sure if it’s because of the pressure, lack of air circulation, or both. It certainly isn’t painful to sleep on, even brand new.
The worst thing that can happen with a piercing is infection. If you’re gentle with your aftercare, it’s not a terrible risk. For me, the possible benefit of the piercing heavily outweighed the potential risks of botox injections. Also, it’s one of the most attractive body piercings I’ve ever seen!
Some good advice Merbot on how to keep your piercing clean and the importance on avoiding infection which was not covered in the article. Thank you for sharing.
I got my done three weeks and 5 days ago. I still get them but I can handle the pain better. It’s like it couldn’t settle. Just gonna see how it go this month. Happy I got it done
Nice Jess. It seems like a valuable tool to help break the cycle of attacks. Thank you for sharing 🙂
For the last 30 years I have had migraine. I have figured out several triggers and that has helped. I finally found two medicines that has helped a lot. I research the daith piercing for a year, I wanted to make sure it was for me.I had my daith pierced four months ago. I’m going from everyday to 12 in the last four months. Between medicine, supplements, and the piercing, I can now feel a little normal. Haha.
That is a fantastic result Missy. I found the most success in recovering from chronic migraine with a combination of preventative strategies, behavioral and lifestyle changes. Alone, no single treatment was a miracle. Together it made the difference.
I have struggled with migraines for over a year. Been on four different medications. Two girls I work, that also suffered with migraines and got the piercing, told me about the piercing and out of sheer desperation I tried it. I have been migraine free for a week. Sometimes I get a dull pain but nothing like before. I am willing to put up with a sore ear for the relief it has given me! My quality of life is back!
Fantastic result Vada! I hope it continues for you.
56 years old – migraines since I was 14. I got my piercing almost a year ago. Migraines are history!!
Wow! Amazing Rose. Congratulations!
I got my daith piercing on December 15, 2016. I had a headache going in, and once she pierced my right ear my pain was immediately relieved. A week later I had my menstral cycle and had a low grade headache, but no migraine like I normally get, and have had since age 10. I’m 44. I current take Antenolol for my migraines which was prescribed by my neuro.
In addition, my overall health has improved. My hands would burn in the cold, and the tips of my fingers would crack and then take weeks to heal. I discovered that I was probably "toxic". I’m still uncovering all of the benefits of my piercing. It is nothing short of a miracle.
I hadn’t heard of such benefits. Great to hear Jen! I hope your migraines continue to improve. All the best!
I’ve had chronic daily migraine for 13 years I got my daith pierced in my left ear on Dec 22, 2016. I noticed right away that the non-stop pressure that I have in my face and teeth disappeared. I’ve had days without migraine and days with very low migraine since the piercing. Before the piercing I had to go all the way back to May to find a day with headache lower than a 4 on the pain scale. The daith piercing has made a huge difference for me at a time of year when I have many triggers.
Fantastic Dana. I’m very pleased to hear about your positive results!
I got this piecing around 2 months ago and I have found that they help with the chronic daily headaches a little but have not touched my chronic migraines. it was completely worth the pain though as I have had some days where i feel fine whereas normally i would feel like pants!!
Interesting result Imogen, thank you for sharing your experience. Glad to hear you’ve still found some improvement. There are still many other alternative treatment options out there. Don’t give up!
I got my daith piercing in my right ear a year ago and I’ve loved it. It has helped with my migraines and looks cute! But I have noticed that my migraines when I get them have changed. They are now on the left side of my forehead/head and causes more pain/nausea. I have been looking into getting the left side done as well.
Interesting, Meg, make sure you come back and let us know 2-3 months after your left daith ear piercing to tell us what happens next! You’re breaking new ground as this hasn’t been studied and I’m sure many readers would be interested to hear what happens.
Good luck Meg!
I had my first migraine at age 12 (now 42). They were blinding, head pounding, nauseating, dizzying headaches that resulted in me being in bed with the blanket over my head, ear plugs in my ears, an eye mask over my eyes, and a "puke bucket" by my bed. By the time I was 21 I had already tried about 6 different meds, and nothing seemed to help. Over the years the migraines as I knew them began to lessen and lessen, BUT when I had one, I was in bed for weeks at a time. I lost count of the different medicines and treatments that we tried over the years. Prescription, over the counter, alternative, you name it!
About 3 years ago I developed a headache that just wouldn’t go away. I had light sensitivity, included my wonderful friend nausea, and sounds were tolerable, but not by much. The headache varied in intensity, but I’d rate it between 3 and 9. I was sent to a new neurologist who firmly believes that for the last 3 years I have had a constant migraine. I completely disagreed with her. This was not like "my" migraines. I saw 2 other neurologist that said the same thing.
I went back to the 1st neurologist (I felt more of a ‘click’ with her and felt more comfortable with her). I have been on several different meds sice, with little to no relief from them. I had asked her about the Daith piercing (let me say that I have 15 piercings in my ears from my younger days that I have wear really small hoops in, and they are actually not very noticeable unless you were looking right at them). She told me that there is not enough data to prove that the daith pierce in-fact works. Then she leaned in and whispered: I’m not gonna tell you to do it or not to do it, or even that it works, but if it was me, I’d give it a try. Obviously you don’t mind piercings and if nothing else at least you get a new pretty piercing out of the deal!
My guy is taking me to get mine done for an early Valentines present. He want’s to do whatever he can to help me get over/relieve this horrible headache!
Wow. Thank you for sharing your story Christina! Good luck with your piercing! I hope it helps you find some relief. Let us know how it goes!
I’ve had my daith piercing for around 2 months and I have not had a single migraine!! Prior to this I would have a few a week which basically made me constantly sick as side effects last a few days then another one comes along it was a vicious circle. I would 100% recommend this piercing, I jumped at the chance when I heard it and it’s worked for me. Being a migraine sufferer since the age of 9-24 has been tough with little help from doctors I’m so shocked this has stopped them and fingers crossed it continues! Good luck everyone else try it:)
Fantastic result Stephanie! I hope the results continue for you and thank you for sharing your experience so far.
Migraines have been a long term problem for me. I pierced my Daith in December, its February and I have had no migraines since. On average I was having a minimum of 2 per month. I have had 2 basic headaches since the piercing. I haven’t had to take any migraine medication since. Thus far I feel this piercing has improved life.
Fantastic result Stephanie. I might need to get a subtle clear plastic piercing of some kind as a male who doesn’t currently have any piercings.
I’m going to get this done
I’ve had migraines since I was a small child. I would be in bed in my pitch dark room with a puke bucket beside me feeling like I got hit by a truck. Mine have always started in the back of my neck head area, wrap around one side of my head from my ear to the top of my head while giving a lot of pressure behind my eye. Sort of like it wants to push my eye out of my head. For a while when I was little, I got migraines probably every two weeks that lasted about three days. Now, I’ve learned how to scare them off! I know when I’m going to get one at least a few hours before I get one. Usually, it’s a subtle sense in the way I breathe or a feeling in the back of my neck head area or I see black or shiny spots.
Loud sounds, too much sun and a lot of light cause migraines for me. I went to Ozzfest a few months ago and when Black Sabbath (my favourite band) came on I was in a ball on the floor puking my gutz out man! I was so upset 🙁
I’m going to get mine done in a week or two, I’m so stoked to hear about this. I’m starting to sense one now
One trippy thing is the back of my head and neck is also where I get brain freezes.
When I was sixteen, I suddenly started being able to see auras. I think I’ve heard that migraines at an early age might be a link to this but I’ve only heard that once. If anyone has heard more on this, let me know.
Hi August, take care if you are going to get one done and remember that this is entirely at your own risk.
Piercing parlours are not medically trained and may not even before aware of where the daith piercing is.
You might also consider seeing an acupressure specialist who can put in a stud to test how you might react as a less permanent option.
Best Wishes August.
I have now had my Daith piercing for 18 months and in that time I have had only 3 migraines. I’m still taking medications but hope to discuss coming off that next week with my Neurologist.
I’d say – go for it! You have nothing to lose, you can always take it out or keep it as a cool piercing!!
Join my group "The Daith Club – for migraineurs" on Facebook – over 3,800 people worldwide who are talking about the Daith – good luck
3 migraines in only 18 months is very impressive! Congrats Natalie!
I’ve had my Daith since April of 2016. They didn’t eliminate them but the duration and intensity have lowered significantly! I haven’t missed a day of work since the piercing! Gone are the 5+ days of laying in bed losing days of my life!
Fantastic result Roxie!
Just got my daith done yesterday i have had real bad headaches for 3 years so hopefully it works will keep you guys posted in about a month n no the piercing does not hurt at all n trust me i am the biggest cry baby lol
Sounds like you had a great person doing your piercing Tina. Please do come back in a few months and share results. Remember to record any migraine attacks you do get so you don’t forget! Good luck!
I would get migraines at least 4 times a month. I got the daith piercing out of curiosity over a year ago and since then I’ve had 3 migraines. I love my piercing. Everyone is different so it may or may not work. But it doesn’t hurt to try it.
Thank you for sharing your results. Did you take the survey above? I’d love to capture your results! I’m going to update the findings soon now that I’ve had a bunch more responses 🙂
Wondering if the daith piercing would help men with headaches?
I haven’t noticed any difference in feedback between men and women specifically just so you know.
I have had a piercing for about 3 weeks now that the swelling has gone down I have realized I’ve only had minor headache since the piercing I was on codeine tablets for my migraines I’ve only had one bad headache and I resolved it with Excedrin three tablets
Great to hear about your success!
Remember that caffeine can lead to rebound headaches if taken too frequently so use those treatments sparingly.
I got both sides done and in the beginning I was in the "honeymoon" phase but it doesn’t really do much now and it seems my ears are always itching
Thank you for sharing your experience Barnes. It’s rare that people talk about something not working but I think it’s really important for readers to get a balanced view.
itching sounds like you may be allergic to the metal in the jewelry. See the place where you had it done, and start asking about it. Some people are sensitive to different types of metal. You could also be allergic to something in a product you are using to clean the ear or the jewelry with.
Good point Carmen!
If you’re looking to get a daith piercing, but aren’t too sure, DO IT! I was terrified to get it after reading all the experiences and articles. However, I needed migraine relief and was willing to try anything. I got there after spending all day trying to make up my minds about getting it. The place was really clean, and the guy was super nice and could tell how scared I was. Just as a side note, I cried (yes, tears came from my big baby eyes) when I got my lobe pierced. My pain tolerance is a joke. I got both sides done. I barely even flinched for this piercing! The needle only took a second to get in, and the toughest part was using the clamp to reshape my little heart jewelry. It took less than 3 minutes for everything to be done. It was a little sensitive the first few days, but I had not swelling at all and I can’t grasp how someone could get this piercing infected. I’m a little over two weeks in my healing process, and the pain is 100% gone (keep in mind that I practically ignored that it was there for the first few days-IT IS NECESSARY THAT YOU DO NOT PLAY WITH THE PIERCINGS WHEN THEY ARE FIRST HEALING!!!). I never experienced any swelling, bleeding, or unbearable pain in the entire process. It honestly feels like it is already healed but I know I still have months to go until it’s completely healed. My first two nights I was terrified to sleep, as I read horror stories about them getting pulled by pillows and such. I slept just the right way and had no problems. I definitely recommend getting it. I know that I wish I had seen a comment like this before I got mine, so feel free to DM me on Instagram @heather.elainex
(Sidenote-I am now at 3 months of this piercing and all is well. My migraines have gone from 28 days a month to maybe 4 days a month. Do yourself a favor and get it done!
Thank you for sharing your experience Heather.
Has anybody with headaches, from disc problems in the neck, gotten the piercings? What results, if any?
nic my daugther and l both suffer so we got it done there have been no change
Thank you for sharing Nic. It’s important get a balanced view. I hope you find something soon that does deliver the results you are looking for.
I had mine done a while ago, and while I still do get headaches, they don’t even approach the severity and duration they once did. I was skeptical, but my daughter got me an appointment for Father’s Day. I had to do it, right?
After only a few days I was convinced.
Also, there is a lot of talk about there not being any "official" studies. I hope there never is, because as soon as it appears in a medical journal, the government will swoop in to regulate it so only "qualified medical professionals" will be able to perform the procedure. This would also make it really expensive, just like every FDA approved drug for the same thing.
Sometimes we just need to rely on thousands of years of practical experience in other countries.
I also hate when people whine because it didn’t work for them. What procedure or drug works for everyone? Don’t troll on people who can say they’ve been migraine-free for months or years, just because it didn’t work for you.
Hey Darrell, so glad to hear about your improvement. That’s a fantastic result and what a lovely gift for Father’s Day!
No doubt there are going to be strong opinions on both sides of the fence when you consider what’s at stake. It’s our quality of life.
I’m generally pretty forgiving of others because I remember how desperate, anxious and depressed I was when I was at the mercy of chronic migraine… let alone all the side effects from the medications I was prescribed.
Congrats again Darrell,
Question how about experience your migraine pain on both sides? It starts on the right but bounces to the left a lot and then sometimes lately the top of my head.
If there is one thing I’ve realised it’s that no two people with migraine are the same and even migraine attacks within the SAME individual can vary greatly.
If you are experiencing any new symptoms or issues that you are concerned about then the best option is to double check with your doctor to ensure nothing has changed in your diagnosis.
But generally speaking, migraine can vary from one attack to the other. I’ve personally had migraine jump sides from one attack to the next.
I never dreamed that I would sign for a piercing for my 16 year old. However, I did out of utter pity for her pain after diagnosis. She was pierced with a migraine, we paid, walked out, and she said it was gone (within 20 minutes)! Totally worth it. I was so sad to see her stoned out of mind on feiroset. I believe too much Tylenol is bad for her anyway. She’s doing really good now. I recommend finding a person who knows what they’re doing. We had a referral to a very professional woman. Be sure to talk to them about why you are doing it. If they don’t know what you’re talking about with migraines, go elsewhere.
That’s a great result for your daughter Heather. I hope she continues to improve.
Hi all I was just told about this my 8 yr old gets migrains bad and all the time and would like to get some feed on it so if any one can help that would help me alot
Hi Annette, the good news is that kids with migraine will often grow out of them if it is well managed during their childhood and teen years.
Many things that apply to adults in terms of healthy lifestyle, sleep, exercise, diet etc all still apply for children and teens. Children often respond especially well to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and potentially biofeedback as well. It helps them to become more confident, manage stress and manage their responses to external stimuli.
A paediatric migraine specialist worth researching is Dr Amy Gelfand. You can watch 10mins of her interview with me here: https://www.migraineworldsummit.com/public-amy-gelfand/
I hope that helps Annette.
I own a tattoo studio in Churchville Maryland…I’ve been piercing professionally since 1995. the Daith piercing was first done in 1992. This piercing started to be done on a wide scale for relief from migraines after a group of college kids wrote a paper on it about 4 1/2 years ago. The paper went viral and piercers around the world jumped on the bandwagon. Keep in mind that the "kids" that wrote this paper were not piercers and they had absolutely no data to back up what they were implying…none!
That said…they got lucky! I’m been tracking the results of this piercing from people who have come to me for it looking for relief from migraines for the last 3 years. After doing over 265 Daith piercings, my findings have been that approximately 86% of those done have gotten some kind of relief…either in the frequency, duration or intensity of their headaches…12% had no change whatsoever and 2% claimed that their headaches actually got worse.
These have been my findings..take from them what you will. The reason behind it helping migraines could be nothing more then a placebo effect? whatever the case, they do seem to have worked for people. I have noticed that if someone has migraines that normally start on say the right side of their head, then they should get pierced on the left…and vice versa…those that get them in the center should get both.
If nothing else, and you get pierced and find you have no relief you’re still left with a very cool piercing…but would say that it’s worth the time and effort.
Thank you for sharing your unique perspective Michael.
Interesting to note that you recommend the opposite ear to the side of the headache. i.e. if the headache is most common on the right hand side of the head, then the left ear is the one that should receive the daith piercing.
That will answer a few queries we’ve had in the comments above.
I’ve had mine a year and no migraines since. I will still get aura or nausea, but no headache. So I can tell when I a i am suffering fron the mgraine, I just don’t have the pain.
I still get small tension headaches and raging sinus headaches. But, I used to have migraines all the time, so the relief i have was well worth it
Wow, what a fantastic result. The piercing has blocked your head pain but you know you are still having attacks due to the aura/nausea. Very interesting!
Thank you for sharing Lauren!
Even if it doesn’t work perfectly, ear piercings are INCREDIBLE! They feel good and look so, soooooo sexy. Do yourself a favor and give it a chance!
Mate, I don’t know if this had already been posted, so sorry if it has. Thanks for thw article. Well rounded. Cheers! Mate you’ve really got to do some editing. There are so many speeling and grammar errors I could barely get through the article. For goodness sake, please do a simple spell check 🙂
Thanks for the heads up Amelia. Sorry I will do this. My light sensitivity jumbles up letters on the page so it’s like dealing with dyslexia but it’s no excuse! Apologies.
Unfortunately I have the most violent of migraines where I suffer severe horrendous pain with a vexatious attitude attached. My doctor prescribed Maxalt 10mg for relief ,it’s a wafer type tablet that melts on my tongue and seems to work within 20 minutes so long as there is completely no light or no noise . I am open to try anything that will or even hint to stop this vicious assault on my head .. I’d even be a guinea pig to new trials or ideas of relief as this pain is unbearable .
Eric there will be many new ideas discussed at the Migraine World Summit next week. Google the event to find out more details about free access to experts on a range of migraine issues including treatments (medicinal and alternative).
I have been suffering with chronic migraines since I was 23 & they have steadily gotten worse over the years. I am hoping to participate in a Daith for Migraine trial On Thursday with The London Migraine Clinic. They pinpoint the exact location of the Vagus nerve to get the maximum effect. Wish me luck!
Dark Chocolate Lover,
After more than a decade of thinking about it, I gave up chocolate and went from 5-6 to 2-3 migraines/month. Six years later I caved in and ate some mint chip ice cream and had a severe migraine for 7 days. Last spring I unknowingly ate a scone that had a tiny amount of cocoa powder in the recipe (I thought it was darker because it was whole grain) – 3-day migraine. Fall of 2017 got both daiths pierced and only had 3 migraines for the first 6 months, huge improvement. Then the piercings healed, and the migraines came back. I’m going to try a thicker gauge and see if increasing the pressure helps. But just wanted to give you a heads up on the chocolate. I know how hard it is to even consider it. Also, I want to learn more about mapping out the Vagus nerve – in fact, that’s what got me online this morning! Best of luck to you and please update us here!
I think the quality and format of chocolate is important. I get headaches from eating a KitKat which I enjoy right up until I finish it… but I’m fine from an 80%+ dark chocolate product with less than 5 ingredients.
Icecream has other triggers and processed ingredients which can contribute to an attack no matter the flavor.
Good luck! Make sure you come back after a few months to report on your progress!
My 11 year old grandaughter suffers from terrible migraines, took her today for the daith piercing, $40..if it works great but if not shes the coolest kid in 5th grade!
It’s always difficult with young kids experiencing such pain. I hope it works well for her.
51 suffered with awful debilitating migraines since late 20’s. Nausea & pounding of a mallet. I have a son with autism, so being out for the count by the pain & painkillers & the sicky horribleness was a nightmare. In last few years as a single carer I would find myself dragging myself about securing doors & making sure he was safe, because i knew i would pass out in the end. It would go on for several hours, i would be aware if Finn came in to my room & get him to settle with his laptop. The dog would stay right next to me. I would come round to find half the day or night gone. And then rush about catching up with stuff.
I was diagnosed with high blood pressure & the meds definitely had an effect on my migraines. It made sense, at the beginning of an attack felt the blood cells in my brain throb. But while they lessened in frequency, they were just as severe when they did take hold.
Since my Daith piercing 4 months ago, NO MIGRAINES!!! Occasionally nausea/fainytness, which i had before my migraines even started. Its just my way, i can react with this to new meds, heat or emotional distress, & stress. But again less episodes because of course no migraines. have had a few headaches which is like a new thing for me. You take a couple of paracetamols & tah dah you’re ok!!!
Each side of the body is controlled by opp. side of the brain. My migraines were top right side, the HQ of emotional stuff. So i got my Daith piercing on my left side.
That’s fantastic to hear Amanda. Wow. Please come back in a couple of months to give us an update. I hope these brilliant results continue! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing your story Christina! Good luck with your piercing! I hope it helps you find some relief. Let us know how it goes!
I . Got my first daith . Piercing on 4-17-2019 a little difference but i didn’t expect much considering i have had migraines since i was 19. I’m 52 and j
Just got my other daith pierced. I felt little diffence but some. But have had migraines that goes from left to right on my occipital bone. I figured get the second one done. No complaints i like the way it looks and feels. I’m feel a large difference. Everyone gambles on life what’s the difference if its an ear or car or horse. You need to see what works for you no matter the consequences. You need to gamble just like . Life is a gamble you win orb you or you lose remember everythingbinblife is a gamble why not sooner or later you will win it just takes antad bit nn of time to prove oneself
Informed decisions are important. Sometimes information can be lacking and that’s where it becomes a cost-benefit assessment. This will differ for each individual but all we can do is our best to make informed decisions. I’m glad to hear that you are getting results!
Hi I’m a sufferer of Idiopathic intracranial Hypertension. Which is high CFS (spinal fluid) on the brain I have for the last three months suffered daily head aches and daily migraines. It’s compleatly debilitating. The pain in my head is just unbearable. Has anyone had a similar experience and had there Daith pierced? I’m willing to try anything right now!
Epidural patches might be used in this case to equalize the CSF. Something to speak to your neurologist about. Worth getting a referral for.
Amazing article! Daith piercing is trendy because it also helpful in migrane. Thanks for this lovely post.
Thank you Susan. I hope it helped.
Thanks for this useful article. Presentation was good