Daith Piercing for Migraines

I have a multitude of health issues, one of them is at least 4 different types of migraines and headaches. I get migraines, the typical type, abdominal (those ones are weird), tension headaches, weather induced migraines from pressure changes typically from storms, cluster headaches and so on.

After much thought and investigating I decided to get my daith pierced, it’s a piece of cartilage in your ear. It is suggested to get it on the opposite side of where your migraines typically occur. For me, my pain is always on the left side of my head, so I got my right ear pierced in the daith area. Some research suggested that it only helps with food related migraines as it is a pressure point for the same, so I was not going to get it originally. Then I realized, I may have food triggered migraines and just not know it because I get about five a week. The only way to be sure is an elimination diet, and let me tell you right now, that will NEVER happen. With my luck multiple foods I love would show to be causing my migraines and then I would have to cry in a corner for weeks.

I went to get the piercing at a tattoo place that I had been to for three of my tattoos and they do piercings with medical grade steel pieces, which means clean and less likely to cause a reaction (I am allergic to medical staples so who knows). The first hole did not hurt at all, the second hole, in the thicker part of the cartilage hurt like hell, but only for a moment and then there was a pleasant feeling that was like pressure was released from my head.

I got the piercing on February 26th, it has been one week now and I have had NO headaches of any kind since (knock on wood). We even got a storm this weekend and I did not get the typical pressure related migraine several days before the storm hit. It is swollen, and when I accidentally sleep on that side it hurts in the morning. It can take up to a year to heal, for “normal” people it is 3-6 months but I am immune compromised and my body takes so much longer to heal then when I was younger.

I will continue to clean my piercing twice a day with a wound cleaning solution from the first aid section of any store. I will ice it with a clean cloth when the swelling really bothers me. I will hope that the piercing continues to help me with headaches and migraines.

Is there scientific proof? No, but I have suffered migraines and headaches since I was at least 7 years old. I am tired of all the medications and pain. If it helps, awesome! If it does not continue to help, I can either have a nifty piercing or have it removed and let it heal.

If you have a health issues like me though, Multiple Sclerosis, and you are required to get yearly MRIs, just know, you will need to time it so you have enough time to heal. You will also need to go back and have them remove it temporarily before you can get your MRI and then after you’ve done it to put it back in. It is metal after all and I can’t imagine that would feel great busting out of the side of your head.

Sensory Overload

Back in my teens and early twenties noise did not bother me. I used to listen to loud music, have the TV on in the background while I studied or wrote it was fine. Now, it makes me crazy and not in the sense that it is just annoying because I am old.

I am in my thirties, I am not sure if it’s related to my MS, Meniere’s or both as people afflicted with either complain of sensory issues. When I am trying to focus on one thing and there is noise or talking or a loud TV, music anything, I get actual nerve pain. This week I was helping my youngest son with his reading homework, he was reading aloud to me as I listened; my oldest son was talking to my husband who then came out and started asking questions. I lost my shit a little, I didn’t realize I was yelling in response until my husband said something, all I knew was that I was trying to focus my attention on one thing and then I was overwhelmed with sound.

For people who don’t have this issue think nails grating on a chalkboard (though that sound doesn’t bother me, probably from nerve damage in my ears), in addition to the feeling of that sound think of something that gives you uncontrollable shivers down your spine and go ahead and throw in some heart racing chest pain inducing feeling. I can’t speak for all people with sensory issues, but that is what it feels like to me. It’s terrible, when it’s happening I just want it to stop, but you cannot control the sound of everything around you if there are other people involved.

My therapist is always telling me to take deep breaths, mostly when stress hits me or my PTSD kicks up. It is a hard thing to remember to do, especially when panic sets in because your body has decided to revolt its surroundings. This thing happens to me way more than I would like, well actually I would like it to never happen so I guess that I would like to be able to control when. If I go out to dinner with my husband, the sound can become too much, out with the kids, or play dates, social events. The problem is that it is not consistent, it’s not every single time there is sound or only when I am doing a certain thing.

If you know someone with sensory issues, take a beat, they may be snappy because their body just attacked them and they can’t handle anything else at the moment. Ask before touching, because I have even had to explain to my kids that “light” touches are actually painful to me as it sets my nerves on fire.

Ménière’s Disease – Silences Sound, After Annoying Ringing

A disorder of the inner ear, with no known cause and no cure. There are treatments for the symptoms but no cure.

Signs and symptoms of Meniere’s include severe vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), ears that feel full or congestion (liken to ear infection pain) and hearing loss. Typically this only affects one ear, sometimes (about 30% of the time), it can affect both. You can also get muffled hearing, which sounds like being under water. According to some sources, it can take between 5 and 15 years to run its course. It is not noted however, if this is from diagnosis or onset.

Meniere’s is more likely to develop if someone else in the family has it. Some sources say it starts between ages 40-60 and others say 20-50. That’s quite the large spread for age of onset. One of the most common signs, other than vertigo is the sensitivity to sounds, whether loud or certain pitches. For me, it’s whistling, it grates my nerves and causes migraines. It didn’t used to, but now, living in a house of males who like to whistle I am constantly being the terrible nag begging them to stop.

The symptoms are thought to be related to a buildup of fluid in the parts of the inner ear known as the “labyrinth”, this is where balance and hearing organs are located. An abnormal fluid buildup in this location interferes with the communication to the brain that signals sounds and balance.

Getting Meniere’s disease, much like Multiple Sclerosis in my opinion, appears to be a combination of things happening causing a perfect storm. Researchers think that perhaps a constriction of blood vessels could trigger the disease, much like the constriction that cause migraines. There are also theories about viral infections, allergies, migraines, head trauma and auto-immune responses. If you have Meniere’s I can tell you for certain the tests needed to confirm the diagnosis are terrible. The one that was the worst for me was when they blew different temperatures of air into each ear and asked me questions. I got so sick doing that test I almost threw up in the office.

The hearing loss that happens with Meniere’s usually happens at lower level sounds, whereas age related hearing loss usually impacts higher level sounds. Bouts of vertigo could cause more hearing loss but in general there is a steady, slow loss of hearing in the affected ear. Hearing loss is permanent and sometimes can lead to complete loss of hearing the afflicted ear.

Due to the vertigo that comes with this disease, people are more at risk for falls and something called “drop attacks” which is a sudden fall to the ground. There’s another thing I was unaware of prior to testing. At what point do you know what is caused by Meniere’s and what is caused by Multiple Sclerosis, which also puts patients at an increased risk of falling.

It is thought that up to one-third of patients with Meniere’s also suffer with migraines. Some of the more odd things that come from the Vertigo complication and not directly from Meniere’s is nausea, vomiting and sweating. Apparently frequent attacks of vertigo can wreak havoc on the digestive system and the hormone response from the same can cause excess sweating.

There are several types of treatments for the different symptoms. Diuretics or low salt diets are the go to, however, I have low blood pressure so that was not an option for me. I tried several different pills for the vertigo, none of them worked. They finally prescribed me a patch you put behind your ear for up to 3 days and that did work. I was able to take a plane and a ferry boat while wearing it without getting sick.

There’s an injection of dexamethasone or gentamicin which I have not been brave enough to even ask about and surgery. These injections go into your eardrum (shiver) and can reduce the vertigo but increase the loss of hearing and worsen your overall balance. Surgery is the last option which only treats the worse vertigo.

It is kind of crazy how one tiny part of your body can mess the whole thing up. I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that I have this disease in both ears. I wear a hearing aid in the left as it is the worse of the two for now. It has a setting on it that is supposed to reprogram my brain to stop trying to hear the waves that cause the tinnitus. Eventually, I will need a hearing aid for the other side too, I say there must be a reason I learned sign language as my second language because I will most likely have to rely on it at some point in my life now. Though it may help with the “Cog Fog” and word finding problems I have with my MS.

If you need a hearing aid though, the one I got it really small and most people don’t even notice unless I say something and/or adjust the volume in front of them. Though now, I kind of wish I had gotten one with a cool design, I see kids at my youngest son’s school rocking camo or bright red ones and I am a little jealous.