The results are in from an anonymous survey of 380 respondents who had a daith piercing for migraine. They were asked 3 simple questions:
How long have you had a daith ear piercing for?
How has your daith piercing affected your migraine frequency?
How has your daith piercing affected your migraine severity?
This is part 2 of a two part article on Daith piercings. To read the first article about Daith piercings, the background, expert commentary and more. Read the article here >>
I've included several charts and results below for those who want to see the raw data. If you just want the quick answer about whether daith piercing will actually help your migraine condition these are the topline results:
How did the daith piercing affect your migraine frequency?
Just under half of all those who had a daith piercing (47.2%) experienced a reduction in migraine frequency. The remainder stayed the same or got worse. Below is a the breakdown of those who reduced their attacks:
- 20.1% reduced their attacks by approximately 10-50%.
- 5.4% of people reduced their attacks by half.
- 15.8% reduced their attacks by more than half.
- 5.9% of people experienced a full remission in migraine. i.e. it eliminated their migraine attacks.
Interestingly, the most common response was that migraine frequency stayed the same. This group represented 48% of all respondents.
Some people also worsened.
4.8% of people experienced an increase in migraine frequency since their daith piercing.
Whether this is due to the piercing itself, other factors or a combination was not explored in this survey. See the limitations section below.
How did your daith piercing affect your migraine severity?
Half (49.9%) the respondents experienced less severe attacks.
- 25.9% reported 'somewhat' of reduction in their migraine severity.
- 17.9% found their migraine severity had 'reduced greatly'.
- 6.1% say they no longer experience migraine attacks at all.
However... 45.7% of people, the biggest single group again, stayed the same with no change.
Interestingly, 4.3% of people found that the pain and disability from migraine attacks had increased.
Before you jump off... be warned, these results can be misleading! A big factor in the results is how long it had been since a respondent had their daith piercing.
How Long Have You Had The Piercing For?
Below is the how long each respondent had their piercing for:
The group which had only had a piercing for less than a month had the highest number of people who had completely eliminated their attacks at 11%.
Going a month without migraine is a fantastic result for many people. But it's not the same as going without migraine for an entire year. This is what happened as time goes by:
- 6% had no further migraine attacks within 2-6 months
- 3% had no further migraine attacks within 6-12 months
- 4% had no further migraine attacks for those who had the piercing for 1 year or longer. It should be noted however that the sample size is small in this bracket. There was only 1 person out of 24 (i.e. 4%) who experienced no attacks since they had the daith piercing at the 1 year or longer mark.
A similar trend emerges with the rest of the results. The more recent the piercing, the better the results tend to be. Below is the migraine frequency and severity at 2-6 months.
2-6 Months After The Daith Piercing
2-6 months after the daith piercing:
- About half of all people stay the same.
- 3% get worse in either migraine frequency and/or severity.
- About half improve in both frequency (46%) and severity (47%).
- It appears those who respond positively to the daith piercing enjoy an improvement in both severity and frequency.
6-12 Months After The Daith Piercing
At the 6-12 month mark... we start to see the honeymoon trend wearing off. Fewer people sustain the initially positive results.
6-12 months after the daith piercing:
- The number of people who experience complete elimination of migraines has dropped significantly from 11% in the first month to 3%, 6-12 months after the piercing.
- Slightly more people stay the same in terms of migraine frequency (53%) and severity (50%) at this point.
- People who get worse is interestingly lower at 1-2% in frequency and severity.
What about longer term? What happens after 1 or 2 years?
One Year (or More) After The Daith Piercing
Results 1 year or more after the piercing:
It's worth noting for this group there were only 24 respondents. However the trends still continues with this smaller group:
- 67% experience no change to their migraine frequency
- 50% experience no change to their migraine severity
- 13-14% get worse with either more frequent or severe attacks (or both).
- 29% of people experience less disabling attacks.
- 21% experience fewer attacks
Limitations of this research
This research was conducted as an informal and anonymous poll. As such there are many limitations:
- There was no control over who was selected and who wasn't. It was open to anyone who wanted to help provide answers for others considering this treatment option.
- The number of daith piercings was not asked. We do not know whether people had one ear or two ears with a daith piercings.
- Adverse events, side effects, poorly inserted piercings, infections etc were not accounted for or recorded. These may have influenced the results of some people.
- How much change in migraine frequency or severity that is solely attributable to the daith piercing was not measured. Some people may claim to have experienced their results entirely from the daith piercing, others may have combined the piercing with other treatments and for others there may be a placebo effect.
The challenge when evaluating the reliability of these results is that migraines are complex and there are many factors that can contribute to changes in a migraine condition. This includes other non-medicinal treatments, medicinal treatments, environments, routines, season, exercise, diet, lifestyle and many other factors.
Looking at the results overall, it appears that the daith piercing does show potential. Especially in the early months after the initial piercing. For this reason it could be considered a worthwhile tool to help break the cycle of chronic attacks.
In the long run there are fewer people ( 12%) with the daith piercing who sustain reductions of 50% or more in severity or frequency versus 24% in the first 6 months.
As we saw above, after 1 year around 20-30% of people experience improvements. One might therefore be able to reason that a daith piercing can help break the cycle of frequent attacks but you'll need something more to sustain your improvement over a longer period.
There have been concerns raised about the potential for things to go wrong.
Ear piercings require no medical qualifications from practitioners. There is a risk that area of the piercing can get infected, damaged or the piercing can be made in the wrong position. Like other treatments, these are risks or potential side effects which need to be considered before making a decision.
Some people may also argue that there is a strong placebo effect which may explain the strong early results that you've probably seen on social media. This is certainly a very real possibility. However it is worth mentioning that, placebo or not, the results are there initally.
So if the results are encouraging, at least in the short run, the question we should ask ourselves is, does that make the treatment effective?
11 Natural & Complementary Treatments Proven To Help Prevent Migraine Attacks
Let me know what you think in the comments below. If you have any questions regarding the charts please ask in the comments to receive your answer.