If you have fibromyalgia, there’s a good chance you experience migraines too. They can be quite debilitating. Mine sent me to the ER once, but not because of pain. It’s because the migraine effects were mimicking a seizure in many ways. And migraines can hit you whether you have fibromyalgia or not. So what can you do about them? Well, there’s medications, of course. You can also just ride them out. Or you can try alternative methods like acupuncture which has proved highly effective at relieving migraines. Many people are turning to a seemingly related alternative called a daith piercing.
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A daith (pronounced “doth,” but apparently “daith” like “faith” is acceptable too) piercing goes through the ear’s innermost cartilage fold. It’s kind of close to a tragus piercing. Many people swear by them for alleviating migraines. Others say they are useless. Most seem to think piercing that location on the ear is related to acupuncture’s use of pressure points. So what exactly is the deal? And does it really work or not? More importantly, should you get one?
Daith Piercing: Is it Like Acupuncture?
When we talk about acupuncture and pressure points, we are essentially talking about what is usually referred to as Chinese Medicine. There are traditional forms, classical forms, and many others. I am not an expert in this field. But I have studied a number of books, documentaries, and other resources about or related to Chinese medicine. I’ve even written about it in academic settings. I also have a spouse who has completed nearly half the training required just to understand Chinese medicine, not even to practice yet. Thus, I can tell you with absolute certainty: it is based on a highly complex system that is literally thousands of years old. And it’s definitely effective, no question there!
Chinese medicine (sometimes called Eastern medicine) is rooted in a much different understanding of the body than Western medicine. Here in the West, we tend to focus on alleviating symptoms, rather than looking at the system as a whole. Chinese medicine looks not just at the main organs, but their delivery systems, energy channels that run all throughout, and much more. Acupuncture uses very specific points on the body that target highly specified organ systems and functions, all of which are connected. Have you been to an acupuncturist or at least seen the needles they use? They are ultra fine and bend easily. But they are just the right size because the targets are so small.
About that Earring….
Think about how thick a traditional earring is compared to one of those needles. Now, an acupuncturist is trained to hit the exact spot on your ear to relieve migraine pain. Thus, if a piercer who has never been trained in Chinese medicine pierces your ear in that innermost cartilage fold, what are the odds that they will hit the very spot to relieve migraines? Pretty slim, don’t you think? I mean, it’s hit or miss, right?
Does that help you understand a possible (and highly likely!) reason why some people say that daith piercings work great to relieve their migraines, but others say it does nothing?
Is Daith Piercing Safe?
A daith piercing is just that: a piercing. It’s as safe as most piercings are, which means it still has the same risk factors as other piercings too. Most notably, infection. Other than that, there’s one other risk factor that is noteworthy, but based entirely on the individual: pain threshold. While the ear cartilage is not necessarily dangerous for piercing, it can definitely hurt. And if you suffer from fibromyalgia, then you are already abnormally sensitive to pain.
So the ultimate question is: should I do it? If you want to relieve migraines through a daith piercing, the chances of it being effective are about 50/50 according to anecdotal reports. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there is not a lot of research on migraines. But there are a lot of people out there who have gotten a daith piercing in an attempt to relieve their migraines. Check out their stories before making your decision.
A Few Words of Caution
Let’s reiterate: it may or may not work. If you have fibromyalgia or a heightened sensitivity to pain, then I would advise against this piercing. Because even those folks with several piercings and a high threshold for pain tend to agree – this is a particularly painful spot. But if you want to do it regardless, just because it looks good, then go for it. Note that it can get infected and often hurts for a while during the healing process. Also be cautious because some people have adverse reactions or allergies to certain metals. This could be related to an excess of- or some sort of- toxicity in your body. At any rate, it is something to keep in mind.
If you are looking for ways to relieve your migraines, I highly recommend finding a quality acupuncturist before trying the daith piercing. And if you have fibromyalgia too, tell the practitioner. They need to know about pain sensitivities because they can modify their plans according to what you can handle. Talk with them about getting a daith piercing to treat your migraines. You might find that they choose other points on the body to treat your migraines much more effectively than that one spot on your ear.