SAN ANTONIO — Some people claim the daith piercing, located on the innermost fold of the ear, can help alleviate migraines. But doctors are skeptical.
Rhonda Ramirez has suffered from chronic migraines since she was 12 years old.
"The migraines were debilitating," Ramirez said. "I would have pain immediately behind my eye or in the back of my neck and I knew then I would not be able to drive, talk...talk normal as I'm talking right now. It just hurt."
Ramirez said she tried every medication under the sun, but her migraines continued to disrupt her life.
"I hate missing out on everyone having fun," she said. "And taking pain pills to stop it and I just got fed up and I just said, 'I need to do it.'"
She decided to get a daith piercing on both of her ears. The results, at least for her, are clear: She now has fewer migraines.
And she says it happened near-instantaneously.
"As soon as he pierced the ear," Ramirez said, "the pressure was gone."
Miro Hernandez, head piercer at Dandyland Custom Tattoo, said her shop has seen an increase of people requesting daith piercings.
"We're probably doing anywhere between 10 to 15 a week," Hernandez said. "The reality is if it actually worked for migraines, you would actually go to a doctor's office to get it done. You wouldn't be going to a piercing studio."
Doctor Fred Campbell Jr. with UT Health San Antonio said he also has doubts. Currently, there are no scientific studies or research that prove daith piercing can cure migraines.
"Treatments like acupuncture, which has been found for some types of headaches to be effective at least in the short term," Campbell said. "I would not recommend a piercing as a solution for a patient. But sometimes the pain is so bad people are just looking for anything that helps."
The video of Ramirez getting the piercing went viral. She said she still answers questions for others who are searching for relief.