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Intense and often sudden headaches can be debilitating.
Migraine sufferers may find relief in a unique technique: an ear piercing.
Paula Nicholls has suffered from migraine headaches since second grade. The pain is so intense, she's hoping a trip to a tattoo studio will bring relief.
Migraine medicines haven't worked, so Nicholls is trying out a new trend that involves piercing a portion of the ear known as the daith.
Daith piercing was the topic of an essay by University of Florida health neurologist Edward Neely presented at the American Headache Society this June.
“I've seen some patients with good response and other with virtually no response,” Neely said.
Neely said one patient has been headache free for at least 18 months. He said the daith piercings go through the vagus nerve.
“So potentially piercing that nerve can act like a permanent acupuncture needle,” Neely said.
Professional piercer Kelly Buscher said while these kinds of piercings are nothing new, thanks to social media, the trend for the method of headache relief has grown in the past year.
“There have been days where I've done 10 piercings where it's just the daith only,” Buscher said.
For Nicholls, a chance to be pain-free was worth exploring.
Within a minute, Nicholls’ piercing was done and she said the pressure in the left side of her head was gone.
“I usually have a lot of sinus pressure and a lot of pressure near my face, but I automatically felt the difference between my left side and my right side -- it feels more free on this side and it feels amazing,” Nicholls said.
“People are tired of the medications, Botox, so they're using this as one of the last resorts and taking a jump to see if it works,” Buscher said.
Neely said the procedure may not work for everyone, but it’s something more people may decide to try, hoping for even a chance to live a life pain free.