I’ve often joked that headaches are a side effect of parenthood, and in some ways it’s true. Kids are loud and they’re stressful and sometimes they keep you up all night, and all of those things can cause headaches. But I’ve had headaches for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can’t remember a day when I didn’t have a headache – at least for part of the day.
While a typical headache or fog has long been part of my day-to-day, the debilitating migraines totally flatten me. The sharp pain above my right eye and on the right side of the base of my skull is indescribable. My mouth will taste metallic – almost like blood – and then there’s the nausea. It will hurt to wear my glasses. It will hurt to lie down. It will hurt to hold my head up or turn it side to side. Generally, I try to stay in a dark, quiet room. It’s miserable – and it’s rarely possible as a working, single parent.
I switched my diet. I started identifying triggers. I work out more, and drink more water. The number of migraines has been reduced – possibly due in part to the fact that I no longer take hormonal birth control – but the headaches continued. I've been prescribed medication for the pain, but there's nothing about taking prescription pain killers that I love. (Except maybe the awesome sleeps.)
So I had a piece of metal shoved through the cartilage of my ear in hopes of alleviating the headaches. And guess what? It worked.
When I first heard of daith piercings back in December, I was intrigued – and a little skeptical. So I started reading everything I could get my hands on, and I called a few piercing places to inquire. There have been no studies to prove that this piercing does anything other than look badass, but patient testimonials and even a few acupuncturists have said they believe these piercings do help with ailments like migraines and even anxiety.
The daith piercing is in a pressure point that has long been touted as the spot to reduce migraines and headaches in acupuncture. Since I hate taking an expensive prescription narcotic for the pain (and because nothing else really worked), I figured I had nothing but $60 to lose so, after asking my physician for his opinion (his honest response: “GET IT GIRL!” (also: love my doc)), I walked into Adept Tattoo & Piercing in Halifax, NS and took the plunge.
The clamp on my ear gave me an instant, acute headache. It made me worry that I was about to make a huge mistake – what if this made things worse? – then, the needle went through, and BOOM: headache and pressure, gone. A month later and it’s not quite healed, but I’ve had some excellent payoff from that Saturday afternoon trip to the piercer’s table.
In the last two months, I’ve gone from dull, daily headaches to having only four days within the month where I had a headache – and only one morning when I’ve woken up with a headache. I would ordinarily have 1-3 migraines a month, and this month I’ve had none. (I keep track of my headaches on a calendar.)
I’m not recommending you run out to your local piercer and shove metal through your ear and I’m certainly not recommending you stop following your physician’s orders. Rather, I’m sharing my personal experience. If it’s something you think you’d like to try, consult with your physician and understand that what works for one person may actually exacerbate the issue for others. If you do get pierced, I know I don’t need to tell you to go to a reputable place and ask questions — lots of questions.
If you’ve gotten a daith piercing – or you want to! - let me know in the comments below!