Ask the Doc: Can a daith or tragus piercing help with migraine?

2 min

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Can a daith or tragus piercing help with migraine?


Some people suggest that piercing of the daith or tragus – specific parts of the outer ear – can relieve migraine, but the evidence that it works is all anecdotal.

The reasoning behind the idea that daith or tragus piercings can relieve migraine seems to come from acupuncture but a study of ear acupuncture for treating migraine used needle insertion points on other parts of the ear!

Acupuncture can relieve migraine, but studies like this one used traditional acupuncture points that do not include the ear.

Whether piercings through acupuncture points achieve the same effect as acupuncture is completely unknown. But they probably don’t.

There are a couple of case reports published in the medical literature of daith or tragus piercings preventing migraine, but these are not proof that it works. It could just be the placebo effect.

Piercing isn’t harmless. Anecdotal evidence suggests that daith and tragus piercings are more painful than getting your earlobe pierced, and about one in three piercings of the ear cartilage get infected. Piercings through cartilage can take a long time to heal.

If you have headaches that are bad enough to make you want to do something about them, you should see your doctor. They can suggest lifestyle changes that can provide relief if you’re reluctant to take medication.


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