My health story
‘A piercing helped cure my migraines’
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’
✱ 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