Do Daith Piercings Work? Let’s Hear What Patients Have To Say

Daith Piercing MinnesotaThe daith piercing is without a doubt the most talked about subject on my site, which is ironic because I do not perform the procedure myself. My goal as a pain management specialist is to analyze a person’s pain and come up with a variety of solutions to help manage and treat that pain.

I referenced how some people have experienced headache relief by having their daith pierced and, although I’ve mentioned that there is no hard science behind the piercing, I’ve explained how some of the pain pathways may be affected by stimulation.

We’ve been referenced, praised and lambasted on other sites for talking up the piercing, but people continue to ask us questions about the daith piercing. So instead of giving some general answers about why it may or may not work, we though we’d let people who have already undergone the piercing speak about their experience. We’ve collected a bunch of comments from people who have shared their story on our site, and we want to put them in one easy to read place. So below, you can read what people who have undergone the piercing are saying about their experience. We hope you find it enlightening.

People Who Have Had The Daith Piercing

Here is a sample of some of the most recent comments we’ve received about the daith piercing.

I had a daith piercing done (left side) on 9/30/2016. I have not had a migraine since getting this done. I used to have one every day, with several trips to the ER a month. I had tried every medication possible they could prescribe me for them and the only thing that ever really worked for me was going to the ER and doing the IV cocktail thing, which unfortunately there is no script that can be given that works like it. When I got my piercing done I was experiencing a migraine almost to the point of debilitation, the second he preformed the piercing the pressure was relieved, similar effect to pushing the pin in the stem of a tire to let the air out and my vision was no where near as blurry. the next day it was gone with no meds at all. I do still get small headaches but OTC meds knock them right out. My only caution for it is please strictly follow the after care instructions and do your research on the shops that are doing them. Be 100% comfortable with the person doing it for you. Many shops say “oh yes I can do that for you, I have done tons of them” but just because they have done them does not mean they have done them correctly. – D.A.

I just recently had this piercing. I had researched this for several months before deciding and talked to several people that had it done and have had great success. It was really not as painful as everyone makes it sound and took less than 60 seconds. I am very hopeful about this helping with my migraines. – C.S.

I’ve had headaches all day everyday for a long time, so I heard about this piercing and I went and got it done right away, went in with a headache and left pain free, literally! It’s been 3 days now still no pain or headache The piercing site bled a little because I slept on it. Cleaned it up and it’s healing, so very thankful I had it done, I love being pain free. – S. W.

I’ve had headaches for over 20 yrs. Its hurt pretty much every day for years now. Most days its a dull ache but other days they can become quite unbearable. Meds don’t help. I just got my daith piercing today. Before doing it I spent a few weeks massaging the general area so I know that pressure seemed to help, but only while pressure was being applied. I can say this much, I had a pretty bad headache before getting it done, my headache went away, but my ear is quite sore right now. It was quite painful for me, but everyone is different. – R.T.

I had the piercing in both ears it’s been a week now. I’ve not had the headaches but the pain I’m experiencing in my jaw is really bad what did you suggest that I do for the pain. I’m think of taking them out. – B. P.

I suffered chronic migraines and was in my 11th headache day when going in to get this piercing. Immediately upon the needle going through there was a HUGE release. I was getting migraines regularly during my menstral cycle my last cycle passed with NO migraine for the FIRST time in YEARS! I have only had one migraine since the piercing and it could hardly be called a migraine compared to what I was used to. I get them if I eat eggs or chocolate on an empty stomach.. if I skip meals or stay up too late. The last migraine I had was triggered by eggs and the pain was 50% less to 70% less than what i was used to and it only lasted a day and a half compared to the usual 3 days. This piercing helps tremendously and perhaps the acupuncture community could learn something. Also acupuncture does not pierce all the way through the skin.. there are a bundle of nerves penetrated that are deeper into the skin than acupuncture goes. Acupuncture may help some for me it stimulated my headaches and made them worse. The Daith was so helpful and so healing. There are SO many people being helped by this and Thank GOD for whoever noticed the correlation. Hope this helped! Bless! – K.E.

So as you can see, the piercing has worked for some, and not for others. There’s no guarantee that it will work for you, but for individuals who have failed to experience relief from other treatments, it may be an option worth exploring.

Why Difficulty Sleeping Is Like Living With Chronic Pain

chronic pain sleep

Chronic and acute pain often interferes with sleep. Since a third of our lives are spent sleeping or trying to sleep, having an issue getting good sleep can be a major issue. There are many problems that interfere with sleep, and many pain patients have difficulty sleeping. Sleep is similar to pain, in that it is a complex process, and many things can affect our sleep. Sometimes the solution to better sleep is simple, but more often the problem and solutions are complex.  

Why Recent Guidelines on Sleep Fall Short

The latest issue of JAMA came in the mail today and had two articles related to sleep. The first was on chronic insomnia and the new guidelines for its management. The second article was on restless leg syndrome (RLS). The “guidelines” were put out by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and written by primary care physicians and health care administrators. To be valuable, guidelines really need to be written by experts in the field of the guideline, and sleep specialists can be credentialed in Neurology and Internal Medicine with a specialty of Respiratory Medicine. These experts were not the ones to write these guidelines. If a patient wants only entry level advice on sleep, these may be okay, but for those suffering from chronic sleep issues, consulting an expert would serve most patients significantly better. It is shame that leading national organizations like the ACP and JAMA publish minimally useful information.  

Since I have been in practice for a number of years, learning some some of the basic treatment options to improve sleep is not difficult. If a patient is having difficulty sleeping, always start with a good history and physical exam. The history often tells significant information with regards to the nature of the sleep problem. Treating sleep is usually more complex than guessing the right medications. The most important first step is good habits prior to going to sleep. The easy things involve reducing caffeine intake, especially in the afternoons and do not drink it at night. Alcohol also does not help with sleep; it often will wake one up in the middle of the night. Technology is also a horrible actor; the blue light of cellphones and computers as well as television will stimulate people and prevent sleep. Lastly, do not exercise vigorously in the evenings; this also wakes up most people.

Solving Sleep Problems

If a person has addressed the simple sleep issues and they are still having sleep problems, then finding a solution will often require some expert intervention. Since there are many problems that affect sleep, obtaining a medical sleep consult by a specialist is worthwhile. Problems like sleep apnea are often an issue. Finding medical problems that need management can reduce interference with sleep. If nothing is found to be a problem by an expert, then solutions to what seems to be reducing sleep can be initiated. Many people cannot relax enough to go to sleep, and psychological based treatments like mindfulness or cognitive behavioral therapy are indicated. Few patients may need some sort of medications, but these need to be closely monitored for side effects.

Most experts have not found that a particular type of bed or pillow makes any significant difference. If I am asked about whether a person should buy a new bed, it is probably only necessary if the current one is totally broken. Pillows are really a matter of personal preference, but they need to keep the neck in a neutral spine position. Usually spending lots of money on beds and pillows is not a good solution for improved sleep.

The patient with chronic pain is often no different from any other patient with sleep difficulties. Correct the simple things with regards to sleep hygiene first. If a person continues to have sleep problems, they should see a sleep specialist who can often help find the most appropriate intervention. Expensive beds and pillows are not usually a good investment. If you need a new bed, buy either a bed with a memory foam type top, or an air adjustable bed so the firmness can be adjusted depending on how you feel. Beds with adjustable frames that raise the head are sometimes good for those with breathing problems at night. Most importantly, good sleep hygiene is the first issue to solve, and if the problems persist, ask to see a sleep expert.

An Update On Daith Piercings

daith migraineI wrote my first article on Daith piercings about a year and a half ago. As many know, this has been advocated for the treatment of headaches. The questions I have been asked since that time have been numerous but the most common question is, “Will it work for me?” I obviously cannot tell if it work for anyone in particular. I have heard from many that it has helped them manage their migraine headaches. Most interesting to me was some of my regular patients have tried it successfully.

Daith Piercing Information

Daith piercings are a specific type of ear piercing. The ear cartilage midline toward the front of the ear is pierced. This type of ear piercing has been around for 3,000 years, but the name “Daith piercing” was probably started in the 1990’s. The placement of the piercing is at the entrance to the ear canal and has symbolic meaning as the “Guardian to the Gate.” This piercing can be quite painful, and since it is through bony cartilage, care must be given to keep the site clean and to prevent infection.

There are many types of headaches, and only certain types of headaches will respond to Daith piercings. Those most likely to improve are migraines that are sensitive to ear stimulation, and likely to be one sided in nature. Daily headaches may be caused be a variety of factors – most common are muscle tension and stress headaches. Muscle tension headaches are caused by neck muscles tightening up, often associated with the position one has while working on a computer. Stress type headaches are caused by psychological factors that make a person anxious.  The most common headache in my practice are those associated with neck problems; either from nerve and disc problems or from the joints in the neck causing pain. These types of headaches are best treated successfully by managing the underlying causes.

Managing Headaches

The headaches that have been managed by Daith piercings are those that are migraine headaches. If you have been diagnosed by a neurologist with definite migraine headache (not self diagnosed), Daith piercings may be a treatment option. Over the last 18 months of studying this subject, an interesting correlation occurred to me that this treatment was similar to acupuncture and vagal nerve stimulation. All these treatments seem to affect the vagal nerve via a branch near the ear, which sends signals back to the brain that may affect various neurotransmitters and hormones that lead to vascular headaches.

Unfortunately, the true scientific proof and medical evidence with regards to Daith piercings is not present. All the results when one researches the topic seem to be stories that it worked for them. There is some basis as noted above why it may work. For those who are interested, a few cautions should be remembered. First, this is specifically going to work best for migraine headaches. If you have frequent and sometimes severe headaches, and they are not easily managed, first see a medical doctor and possibly a neurologist and get a good diagnosis made, and try conventional treatment. The cause should be treated first and may be straight forward to manage. If the headaches are migraines, and they are not responding to management, Daith piercing may be reasonable. Physicians normally do not perform this procedure, so do not ask them to do it. Only get this done by someone who does body piercings and is familiar with this particular one. It is extremely important that meticulous care is performed before and afterwards to keep the area clean and free from infection. Since this is through ear cartilage, near the brain, an infection in the area can be very dangerous and should be treated aggressively by a doctor.

If you want to run a test before piercing, first try massaging the area of the ear when you have a headache and see if that makes a difference. Another possibility is to try acupuncture to see if that works. Most acupuncturists will report what they do is different than the piercing and this is not going to be equal to the piercing, but it may be safer and easier for a test. If you go ahead with a piercing, make sure you try to prevent an infection in the area of the piercing.

Mental Health and Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain Mental Health SartellNew research published in the Journal of Pain suggests that 1 in 4 teenagers diagnosed with a mental health issue also suffer from chronic pain.

We’ve discussed the correlation between changes in your brain and the onset of chronic pain on the blog before, but the recent study shines more light on the link. For their study, researchers at the University of Basel analyzed data from nearly 6,500 teens between the ages of 13 and 18. They uncovered that more than 25 percent of teens with a mental disorder also experienced chronic pain.

Other findings from the study show:

  • 20 percent of teens suffer from a mental disorder, and 25 percent of them have chronic pain.
  • Mental disorders developed prior to the onset of chronic pain.
  • All types of chronic pain were associated with mental disorders.

“All types of pain were related to mental disorders,” researchers wrote. “The most substantial temporal associations were those with onset of mental disorders preceding onset of chronic pain, including those between affective disorders and headaches and any chronic pain; between anxiety disorders and chronic back/neck pain, headaches, and any chronic pain; between behavior disorders and headaches and any chronic pain; and between any mental disorder and chronic back/neck pain, headaches, and any chronic pain.”

Breaking It All Down

Researchers say the results indicate that anxiety and behavioral disorders may indicate that a teen is at a heightened risk for chronic headaches or back and neck pain. It also means that some forms of chronic pain may be preventable if we increase treatment options for mental health issues.

“Future studies should focus on identifying the underlying biological and psychological mechanisms with a view to developing interdisciplinary approaches to prevention and treatment,” said lead researcher Dr. Marion Tegethoff.

I too would be interested in further studies on the subject, but I know that exercise has been proven to be beneficial for both people suffering from depression and for those with chronic pain. So while we wait for more information on how we can combat chronic pain through mental health services, go for a 30-minute jog or go for a long walk with a friend!

Daith Piercings For Migraines

Daith PiercingThe internet is a weird place. Back in March, I penned a short, 4-paragraph blog post on the correlation between daith piercings and migraine relief. You can check out the full blog post here, but I’ll provide a short summary for those who want to stay on this page.

In essence, a daith piercing is a type of piercing located in the ear cartilage midline toward the front of the inner ear. You can see a picture of the piercing on the right side of this blog. Although the science behind the piercing hasn’t been fully researched, the location of the piercing has actually been targeted by acupuncturists to help cure headaches. Acupuncturists target this area during sessions, and many people experience short-term headache relief after treatment.

Anybody who experiences frequent headaches or migraines can tell you just how debilitating the pain can be, and odds are they’ve tried numerous treatments to solve the problem. Could a daith piercing be the answer they are looking for?

Long Term Headache Relief

In the beginning of the blog I mentioned that the internet is a weird place. That’s because that blog on daith piercings went viral, and our site saw more traffic in a week than we did in all of 2014. People really wanted to learn more about Daith piercings, and they had a lot of questions. The most common question was, “Which side of my head should I get the piercing on?”

There is no specific answer, but thankfully, just like a brand new car, you can try it before you can buy it. What I mean by that is you can visit an acupuncturist and see if needles in certain parts of your cartilage provide some relief. If you find that it works, maybe it’s worth considering a permanent piercing.

For those of you who are needle-adverse, locating the daith piercing location may still help provide relief. If you begin to have a migraine, take your thumb and middle finger and gently massage that location on your ear. Switch ears after a few minutes, or massage both at the same time. If you notice significant relief, and you deal with regular headaches, a daith piercing could be a worthwhile solution.

Lastly, as I pointed out in the beginning of the article, there isn’t a lot of hard science behind the correlation between daith piercings and headache relief. Some people have found relief with this method, but it certainly won’t work for everybody. But, if you suffer from regular headaches and all other solutions have failed, it may be worth investigating further. I’ve read comments from readers who have said the procedure has helped to control their headaches, so if you pursue the procedure, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how you are feeling in the days and weeks after the operation, and I’d be willing to let a few of you share your thoughts in a guest blog piece. I really just want people to find relief from pain, and your insights can help.