Fibromyalgia is a common chronic pain syndrome, affecting an estimated 3 to 9 million adults in the United States. Fibromyalgia is not a specific disease. The term fibromyalgia describes a pattern of symptoms that cluster together, including widespread body pain and sensitivity to pressure on specific spots on the body, called tender points. Curiously, these particular tender points are uniquely sensitive to pressure in people with fibromyalgia, while similar spots in other parts of their bodies are not. In addition, people with other types of chronic pain, such as low back pain or arthritis, do not find that pressing these spots is painful for them.
The cause or causes of fibromyalgia are still unknown. Some patients develop fibromyalgia symptoms after trauma or illness, while others develop the condition without any identified triggering event. Fortunately, fibromyalgia is not a degenerative or progressive disorder that would develop into paralysis, memory loss, or other losses of functioning.
Interestingly, a number of headache therapies are also effective in reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- Antidepressants (which have pain-relieving effects)
- Tizanidine (a muscle relaxant with pain-relieving effects)
- Psyschological pain management skills (for example, stress management, coping skills, relaxation training)
- Aerobic exercise
Common symptoms of FMS — may include:
- Concentration and memory problems — known as “fibro fog”
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Morning stiffness
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Sleep problems
- Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs
- Tender points
- Urinary symptoms, such as pain or frequency
Are Chronic Headaches a Symptom of Fibromyalgia?
Chronic headaches, such as recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches, are common in up to 40% of people with fibromyalgia. They can pose a major problem in a person’s ability to cope with and self-manage FMS.
The headaches may be a result of pain in the neck and upper part of the back. They are often caused by tightness and contraction of the muscles of the neck, which results in a type of headache called tension-type headaches or muscle-contraction headaches. They may also be caused by tender points over the back of the head and neck. It is important to remember that other medical problems can cause headaches, so frequent or severe headaches should be properly diagnosed and treated by your doctor.
The National Headache Foundation reports that more than 29 million Americans suffer from Chronic Migraines(CM) and Fibromyalgia, with women being three times more likely than men to get them. But why is that and what can be done?
Daith Piercing for Fibromyaliga and Migraine Relief
These terrible headaches can be triggered by everyday tasks, eating certain foods, or even fluorescent lighting and excessive noise. While scientists aren’t sure why they affect some people and not others, there doesn’t seem to be a “one size fits all” cure for them so sufferers are left to try pill after pill (neurologists often prescribe anti-depressants to relieve them) and treatment after treatment (from switching their diets, to acupuncture, to meditation, to yoga).
And while some of these alternatives help some, others are left frustrated- but eager for the next possibility…enter the “daith piercing”.
The daith piercing is a small ring that pierces the inner cartilage of either ear, running through a pressure point, which for some will relive migraine and fibro pain. It is a relatively new procedure, mainly preformed at tattoo and piercing shops with not many statistics to back it up yet.
Dave Kurlander, owner of the Tempest Artistic Studio in Hopewell Junction, NY performs the daith piercing on clients, and he truly believes it’s the way to go.
“I’ve had many people come to me looking for migraine relief. It’s a much cheaper alternative to medicine and even acupuncture, and many of their doctors recommend it to them, and if you’re into piercings that’s even better.”
Daith Ear Cartilage Piercing
The process takes about 10 minutes and costs around $45. While acupuncture works for some, and this process is similar, it costs FAR less because it’s a one time cost.
Again, the piercing is similar to acupuncture in that the piercing hits a pressure point which relieves the pressure in your head. Some acupuncturist will also embed a little steel ball (which stays in place for up to 2 weeks) into a pressure point. When you are feeling stress, nausea, a headache- whatever the pressure point is being used for- you simply push on it for relief.
“Kimberly Glatz, 24, has been suffering from fibromyalgia for over a year now. She got the daith piercing done last month. “Before I got it done my headaches were really, really bad. Terrible. Just extremely painful,” she said. “Now, I’ve seen some difference, I don’t know if it’s from the piercing or not. I can’t exactly pin point what changed my headaches, but I’ve definitely seen an improvement and it’s worth trying,” she said.”
I cannot imagine what it must be like to suffer from regular migranes or even headaches, so this seems worth a try. Plus, if it doesn’t work, you’ve got a pretty sweet piercing. What do you guys think? Is it worth a try?
“I’ve had many people come to me looking for fibromyalgia relief. It’s a much cheaper alternative to medicine and even acupuncture, and many of their doctors recommend it to them, and if you’re into piercings that’s even better.”
“Essentially it’s the same concept as acupuncture, the piercing hits a pressure point which then relieves the pressure in your head. I recommend getting it done on the ear that corresponds with the side of your head where most of your migraines hit,” he said.
But the pressing question is, if there are no facts behind this than how can we know if it really works or not. Tammi Bergman says that you have to believe in Fibromyalgia and anxiety relief, in the alternatives and in the medication.
“Sometimes relief of fibromyalgia and anxiety is psychological, but that’s not a bad thing, it’s a mind-set. Sometimes you really have to believe it for it to work,” she said.
In the long run it’s a toss up, it may not cure your headaches but you will be left with an ear piercing. Hey, you win some you lose some right?
Some of the initial management strategies used to treat fibromyalgia include a regular exercise program (as tolerated), getting a good night’s sleep, eating a balanced diet, stress reduction, massage, acupuncture, and dietary supplements. Other types of treatment include yoga, Tai chi and behavioral therapy. If these treatments don’t seem beneficial, there are now three prescription medications FDA approved to treat fibromyalgia; Cymbalta, Lyrica and Savella.