My health story

‘A pierc­ing helped cure my mi­graines’

Woman (UK) - - Inside This Issue -

When I had my first mi­graine, aged just 13, I thought the blind­ing pain above my eye was sim­ply a bad headache.

But ev­ery week or so, I’d be struck by the same ag­o­nis­ing throb­bing. Painkillers did noth­ing, so my mum took me to the GP. Only, he dis­missed it – say­ing that headaches were of­ten made more se­vere by teenage hor­mones.

As the years passed, the pains be­came more fre­quent. In Septem­ber 2014, aged 18, I went to univer­sity, but on a night out I’d of­ten have to leave the dance floor early, the pain in my head too much to bear. Some­times, my body would go numb too, and my speech would slur.

By Au­gust 2015, I was spend­ing weeks at a time in bed. Fi­nally, I was re­ferred to a neu­rol­o­gist. ‘You’ve been suf­fer­ing from mi­graines,’ he ex­plained.

It was a re­lief to know what was wrong with me. I was given some med­i­ca­tion – one tablet to take ev­ery day, and an­other to take when a mi­graine struck.

But, while the medicine re­duced the fre­quency of the headaches – rather than one a week, it was one a fort­night – they still blighted my life. I was 25 when I went on hol­i­day to Morocco, only to spend most of my time in bed. I would of­ten find my­self re­search­ing reme­dies and cures and I’d try ev­ery­thing – from eat­ing a high-pro­tein diet, to go­ing to bed at the same time ev­ery night. But noth­ing worked – that is un­til, in Fe­bru­ary 2017, when I read about the daith pierc­ing in a fo­rum for peo­ple who get mi­graines.

The daith is the in­ner most car­ti­lage fold in the ear. The the­ory is that the pierc­ing tar­gets a spe­cific pres­sure point and helps to re­lieve the pain. I was scep­ti­cal. Only, the more re­ports I read from peo­ple who were now mi­graine free, the more cu­ri­ous I be­came.

I’d only had my ear lobes pierced but I rea­soned that I had noth­ing to lose by giv­ing the pierc­ing a try – if it didn’t work I could just take it out. So, later that month, I went alone to a lo­cal pierc­ing shop. It was painful – but noth­ing com­pared to my mi­graines.

Af­ter­wards, when a fort­night came and went with­out a mi­graine, I thought it might be a fluke. But then I no­ticed I still had a full pack of the tablets I was sup­posed to take when a mi­graine came on – I hadn’t had one in over four weeks! Since the day of my pierc­ing, I’ve had just two mi­graines – the least I’ve had since I first be­gan suf­fer­ing as a young teenager – and life is so much bet­ter now. I can spend a whole night danc­ing with my friends, it’s eas­ier to con­cen­trate at work, and I feel so much more re­laxed. My doc­tor even agreed that I should start wean­ing my­self off the daily tablet I take. Now, when peo­ple com­ment on my un­usual pierc­ing, I can’t help but smile. Lit­tle do they know, it’s changed my life.

‘I WAS BED­BOUND WHILE ON HOL­I­DAY’

THE FACTS

✱ mi­graines af­fect around one in seven peo­ple in the UK ✱ They’re usu­ally felt as a se­vere headache or throb­bing pain ✱ Symp­toms also in­clude flash­ing lights, blind spots, nau­sea and vom­it­ing ✱ For more in­for­ma­tion go to mi­graine.org.uk.

Emma says her pierc­ing stopped her fre­quent mi­graines

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