I have genuinely found a way to deal with and reduce the pain of my migraines. In under a year, I went from losing entire days, to losing only an hour to immobilising migraine pain.
Apart from giving me a strange God-like ability to handle all kinds of physical pain, migraines have not contributed anything positive to my life whatsoever. I dread to think how many days I have lost to writhing around in pain, quite literally, wishing that my life would end to make the pain stop. Think I sound dramatic? Then you’re one of the lucky ones.
I must admit that some of my favourite memories of really bad migraines are remembering other peoples’ reactions. Sorry guys, but it is kinda funny to see you freak out so much, running around, waking up the whole house. “Shit. Should I call an ambulance?” “What can I do? Tell me what to do!!!” It’s the kind of pain where I have to pace back and forth, and really focus on breathing through it. I look completely deranged and as pale as a ghost. My husband calls my classic move “the death rock”, where I can’t sit, stand still or function because I physically cannot handle how much pain I am in. I occasionally lose the ability to speak or feel my limbs during a migraine attack, too.
It sounds like I’m bragging, I know. But I kind of am. I think I am badass to have dealt with that amount of pain, since I was eleven years old, on a regular basis. And for my entire life I’ve had to listen to people with headaches, walking around in broad fucking daylight, say they have a migraine. YOU THINK THAT’S A MIGRAINE? HOLD MY BEER.
An alternative solution:
My in-laws are some of the best people on the planet, they are ‘solution’ type people. Liz, particularly, sends anything useful my way to ease my suffering. Just over a year ago she sent me a link to an interesting ‘alternative’ migraine solution that was getting a lot of hype on the internet – Can Daith Piercings Stop Migraines? Here’s What You Need To Know About The Growing Trend.
That’s right people, my mother-in-law was encouraging me to get more piercings. Coolest. Mum. Ever?
For those who don’t know, the Daith piercing is an ear piercing that passes through the ear’s innermost cartilage fold, the crus of the helix. If you put your finger in your ear, it’s the cartilage that sits above your finger.
The gist of that article is that the piercing works in the same way as acupuncture, in fact that area is commonly targeted by acupuncturists that treat patients with headaches.
Why try it?
Between 2014 and 2015, my migraines became particularly frequent and would last longer than usual. On a pain scale of 1-10 I would regularly hit the 10, and would even wake up from a miraculous sleeping state with exactly the same level of pain (this was particularly rare for me, since sleep was often the best solution).
During this 12 month period, I saw my doctor a record amount. She explained that there are two types of treatment for migraines – 1. Preventative (to prevent an attack) and 2. Abortive (once an attack is in place). My doctor put me on daily blood pressure medication, then she put me on daily anti-depressants, neither of which were successful preventatives for me. At the same time she asked me to take super-strength pain killers for when an attack was at its worst. These medications only ever caused strange side effects or masked a pain that would return as soon as the medication worked its way out of my system.
Other doctors questioned all sorts of things, were these recurring migraine headaches due to a heart problem? Blood pressure? Sinuses? Was it due to the height of my computer desk? I was at the point where I had to try not to cry when waiting in line at the pharmacy for the next “try-it-and-see” migraine solution.
There was something medicinal that actually helped me during these frequent drug trials – a tiny dissolving tablet called rizatriptan or MAXALT. It’s a drug which narrows the blood vessels during an attack and seems to force your head to relax. It’s very hard to do anything during the headache, even laying down is hard, but rizatriptan manages to calm me down, which lets the painkillers have much more of an effect. It gives me a strange ‘mustard is stuck in my nose/going to have a nosebleed’ feeling and makes a hot shower unbearably painful on my skin, but it is 100% worth taking!
From my overall terrible success rate with medicinal migraine medication, I had very, very low expectations about this alternative solution. But at this point I was willing to try anything.
The Daith piercing.
On November 26th 2015, I went with my mother-in-law to get a Daith piercing. This piercing was annoying as hell. My ear swelled up so much that it hurt to sleep on it, and I somewhat foolishly pierced the ear that I most often use when making a phone call.
Christmas was only a month away and that is prime migraine time! Let me tell you! Classic triggers – A change of routine, rich food, alcohol and all of those flashing lights! Yet, I didn’t have a single migraine attack. Not one. I became suspicious of my own luck. “Any minute now I’m going to regret all of this fun I’m having.” Nope. It wasn’t until February time that I got my first “Oooh this might become a migraine” headache, and even then, a MAXALT tablet and some regular pain killers made that disappear in under an hour.
In the past 12 months, I think I’ve had 3 MAXALT tablets (compared to thirteen the year before). I have not rocked back and forth even once. I repeat – Not a single “death rock” episode! I have still had mild migraines where I need to lie down, don’t get me wrong, but the pain level has gone down from a 10, to a low 2 or 3. The kind of headache where you don’t want to leave the house, but you’re no where near contemplating suicide.
Is it a coincidence? It could be. But I had very little faith in this piercing having any effect at all. Now you would have to pay me a hell of a lot of money to take it out! I believe it has seriously, seriously changed my life.
Daith piercing + MAXALT = a pain-free, daily medication-free life that I never, ever, thought I would have. And my God, I hope this information helps someone else just as much.