Perspective ARTICLE

Front. Physiol., 21 September 2011 | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2011.00064

Face piercing (body art): choosing pleasure vs. possible pain and posture instability

  • 1 IRIS Group, UMR 8194, CNRS, Service d’Ophtalmologie-ORL-Stomatologie, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
  • 2 University of Paris V, Paris, France

Piercings (body art, i.e., with jewelry) are more and more widespread. They can induce various complications such as infections, allergies, headaches, and various skin, cartilage, or dental problems, and represent a public health problem. We draw attention to possible side effects resulting from face piercing complications observed on four young adults such as eye misalignment, decreased postural control efficiency, and non-specific chronic back pain with associated comorbidity. We found that the origin was pierced jewelry on the face. Removing the jewelry restored eye alignment, improved postural control, and alleviated back pain in a lasting way. We suggest that pierced facial jewelry can disturb somaesthetic signals driven by the trigeminal nerve, and thus interfere with central integration processes, notably in the cerebellum and the vestibular nucleus involved in postural control and eye alignment. Facial piercings could induce sensory–motor conflict, exacerbate, or precipitate a pre-existing undetermined conflict, which leads pain and complaints. These findings are significant for health; further investigations would be of interest.

Keywords: piercing, back pain, trigeminal path, vertical heterophoria, postural instability

Citation: Matheron E and Kapoula Z (2011) Face piercing (body art): choosing pleasure vs. possible pain and posture instability. Front. Physio. 2:64. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2011.00064

Received: 14 June 2011; Paper pending published: 15 July 2011;
Accepted: 02 September 2011; Published online: 21 September 2011.

Edited by:

Mikko Paavo Tulppo, Verve, Finland

Reviewed by:

Rita Stagni, University of Bologna, Italy
Virve Koljonen, Helsinki University Hospital, Finland

Copyright: © 2011 Matheron and Kapoula. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Eric Matheron, IRIS Group, UMR 8194, CNRS, Service d’Ophtalmologie-ORL-Stomatologie, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, 20 rue Leblanc, 75908 Paris Cedex 15, France. e-mail: matheron@wanadoo.fr

Back to top