Controversial piercing becoming popular for migraine relief

Controversial piercing becoming popular for migraine relief

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's estimated 20 percent of women and 8 percent of men in the U.S. suffer from migraines.

Researchers are constantly looking for new cures, but according to many on social media, a true cure comes in a body piercing called "daith piercing."

20-year-old Faith Sindelar tried the piercing, which puts a hole through a very tucked in cartilage ridge of the outer ear.

"I'm willing to do anything to help with my headaches," she said as the piercing pro, Chris Dunne showed her a little room toward the back of Black Metal Tattoo studio in Strongsville.

Sindelar is one of many sold by the buzz on the Internet on this kind of piercing bringing the end to migraine pain.

"You ready? Deep breath in and out," said Dunne as he completes the piercing.

Dunne says he is glad to do the piercings he calls challenging, but doesn't know what to think about all the hype.

Demand for this kind of piercing is skyrocketing he claims and he wants to be a believer.

But Dunne says that's as far as it goes.

"I let them know, hey, this is strictly an aesthetic thing I do. So as far as seeking any expertise I will put in a place where it is going to look pretty," Dunne says.

Dunne says he is encouraged by his other client, 26-year-old Nikki Lottig.

"I was skeptical and kind of thought, I kind of felt a little silly," said Lottig.

She got hers done just a couple of days ago.

The results were just what she was hoping for.

"I was shocked when the migraine went away and hasn't come back," Lottig said.

But, then there's the medical point of view.

"I would never recommend it for one of my patients. The first thing that come to mind was this can't be true," said Dr. Emad Estemalik, M.D., a headache specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.

In fact, he says the word "scam" comes to mind as he reads at least one of the online articles touting the daith piercing as almost an answer to prayers for sufferers.

Dr. Estemalik credits any relief to a temporary placebo effect.

He is quick to warn against it.

"Nothing in literature I've heard of, nothing I've read about, nothing I have studied out there to support such a procedure," he said. "Receiving a piercing in that area will not alter the pathway, the pain pathway."

While he does understand the desperation that would make a migraine sufferer want to try something different, he believes the danger, like infection, strongly outweighs anything that might resemble relief.

Copyright 2015 WOIO. All rights reserved.