Daith Piercings: Are they Effective? Should I Get One?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Feb 12

    Daith Piercings: Are they Effective? Should I Get One?

    Migraines are characterized by acute, pounding headaches that can last several hours or even days. Movements, activities, bright lights, food items or loud noises all seem to aggravate the pain. Migraines are painful and uncomfortable and they can, unfortunately, affect one’s quality of life so it’s understandable to look for solutions, no matter how unlikely. The daith ear piercing, an ear piercing for migraines, is one such solution. But is it effective?

    A daith piercing is located at the point where the cartilage ridge of your outer ear, known as the Helix, meets the opening of the ear canal. Proponents claim that pain associated with migraine headaches can be relieved by piercing this trigger point on the ear. But does this really help with migraines?

    What Is a Daith Piercing?

    Daith piercings attach to the fold of cartilage where the inner ear connects with the outer ear — a thick and curved part of your ear. It can sometimes be difficult to pierce because of its shape. This area is also sensitive.

    There is no doubt that daith piercings are among the more time-consuming ear piercings available. Additionally, you also need an extended period of time to heal, during which you’re susceptible to infection.

    Although acupuncture is based on similar principles, this unconventional approach to migraine relief is under fierce debate.

    Is Ear Piercing for Migraines Effective?

    The effectiveness of a daith piercing has not been proven in randomized, controlled clinical trials. Many people swear that it is effective but most experts believe that the procedure is merely a placebo.

    The idea behind daith piercings is that they serve as a form of neuromodulation. By providing negative feedback to the nervous system, neuromodulation regulates nerve activity causing the relief of pain.

    Acupuncture techniques are behind this kind of ear piercing for migraines. Traditional Chinese medicine claims that there is a pressure point on the side of the ear that corresponds with the digestive system. By constantly applying pressure to the point, the earring is thought to reduce migraine pain.

    Are There Any Risks Associated With Ear Piercing for Migraines?

    It can be difficult to pierce the daith because it is such a small piece of cartilage. Since it’s difficult to insert a new earring once the ear is pierced, most people don’t change it after the procedure. In addition, a daith piercing often requires a long healing period, which makes it prone to infection.

    If you really decide to have a daith piercing, make sure to have it done by a professional to avoid infections.

    It is possible for this ear piercing for migraines to cause a number of complications, such as:

    • Infection
    • Possible removal of infected cartilage
    • Swelling
    • Scarring
    • Intense migraines or worsening migraines
    • Bleeding
    • Pain that doesn’t go away
    • Infections leading to the development of an abscess

    How Painful Is Ear Piercing for Migraines?

    Though daith piercings are not the most painful piercings, they can cause discomfort both during and after the procedure. Pain is different for everyone. Getting a daith piercing usually involves the feeling of an intense, sharp shot going through your ear.

    It takes about 6 to 9 seconds to do this piercing, which is greater than most other piercings. Daith piercings are usually accompanied by an aching, dull pain for a few days. It may be painful to touch your daith piercing and its surrounding ear tissue for several months.

    Studies Supporting the Effectiveness of Ear Piercing for Migraines

    People with migraines who have daith piercings say they’ve experienced relief from their symptoms, but there is no scientific research proving this theory, and all evidence is only based on personal stories. Because daith piercings have risks such as infection and pain, the American Migraine Foundation does not recommend them as a treatment strategy.

    What Causes Migraines?

    The changes in the levels of a chemical in the body called serotonin may contribute to migraines. In addition to its many roles in the body, serotonin may also affect the blood vessels. Blood vessels constrict (shrink) when serotonin levels are high. In response to a fall in serotonin levels, the blood vessels dilate (swell). This swelling of the blood vessels can lead to pain.

    Migraines may also be hereditary, meaning they may run in families. Researchers have discovered a number of migraine-associated genes. It remains unclear, however, why these genes seem to affect some people more than others.

    Ultimately, there seems to be a combination of factors that lead to migraines, including genetics, the environment, and lifestyle.

    Given that migraines are caused by a combination of factors, it is really difficult to say that an ear piercing can cure or relieve migraine symptoms. Without further studies, there is no telling if a daith ear piercing, an ear piercing for migraines, is truly effective. For now, its risks do not outweigh the benefits.

    Key Takeaway

    Daith piercings are said to relieve migraine symptoms but there is still not enough studies and trials to prove that it is effective.

    Migraines are caused by a lot of factors, and treatment for migraines usually also involve a combination of medicines and lifestyle changes. Daith piercings are a tempting instant solution to migraines, but further studies and research are yet to be conducted to prove its effectiveness.

    Learn more about Headaches and Migraines here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Feb 12


    Was this article helpful?