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Botox for Migraines: How It Helps with Headaches

Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Chaitanya Bonda
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Chaitanya Bonda

A life without pain and dependence on painkillers is a perfect life. The phrase “The mysterious molecule of the century” appeared in 2000. And the world neurological community called botulinum toxin like that. The most common belief is that these medications are useful only in cosmetology. They have the practice of removing expression lines. But this is only one of the many facets of botulinum toxin use.

Botulinum toxin preparations have become reliable helpers for neurologists around the world. It is useful in the fight against chronic headaches of various genesis:

  • tension headaches with chronic spasms of the muscles surrounding the skull;
  • pain in neck muscles on the background of neurosis and overstrain;
  • chronic fatigue;
  • chronic migraine.

Injection with Botox for migraines will help you if:

  • You have a headache every day or almost every day.
  • You feel pain in the neck area that spreads to the head.
  • Migraine attacks occur twice a week or more.
  • Ineffectiveness of earlier drug therapy, chiropractic care, IRT, etc.

Read our article further to learn more about what Botox does for migraines.

What is Botox for Migraines?

The usefulness of botulinum toxin in treating migraine was accidentally discovered. Many women had Botox injections for wrinkles. And they began to note that during the period of action of the drug, less frequent headaches. After that, scientists conducted special studies. And it turned out that botulinum toxin has a favorable effect on migraine. Currently, the method is well-studied and has evidence.

The drug acts on the very mechanism of pain development. A doctor injects, according to protocol, into the head and neck muscles at specific points. Chronic headaches are excruciating. There are situations when even strong painkillers no longer help.

Botulinum therapy is often prescribed for chronic migraine:

  • frequent attacks or headaches constantly – more than 15 attacks per month for 3 months or more;
  • there is an insufficient effect of drug treatment or intolerance to drugs.

The effect of Botox on chronic migraines is valid for a certain period. As a rule, in the first year of treatment, you will need to repeat injections every three months. The duration of the drug’s effect depends on the body’s personal characteristics. After 2-3 procedures, the doctor determines the effectiveness of therapy. And he can increase the interval between injections to 4-5 months.

What is the advantage of botulinum therapy in the treatment of headache and migraine?

Botox helps with headaches and offers several advantages in the treatment of headaches and migraines:

  • Targeted Pain Relief. Botulinum injections are strategically administered to specific areas associated with:
  • headache;
  • migraine triggers. 

This targeted approach focuses on the source of pain, providing localized relief. 

  • Neurotransmitter Modulation. Botulinum interferes with the release of neurotransmitters like substance P and glutamate. They play a role in transmitting pain signals. By blocking these neurotransmitters, botulinum therapy disrupts pain pathways and reduces pain perception. 
  • Preventive Strategy. Botulinum therapy is often used as a preventive measure. Regular injections can help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines. It allows individuals to experience fewer severe episodes.
  • Reduced Medication Dependence. With Botox for migraines, individuals may rely less on pain medications. They could have side effects or potential for overuse, leading to medication-overuse headaches.
  • Long-Lasting Effects. A single botulinum treatment session can provide relief for several months. It offers sustained benefits and minimizes the need for frequent interventions.  
  • Improved Quality of Life. By reducing the severity of headaches, botulinum therapy enhances the quality of life. enabling them to function more effectively in their daily activities.
  • Suitable for Chronic Migraines. Botulinum therapy is FDA-approved for treating chronic migraines. It is 15 or more headache days per month. It can be effective for individuals who haven’t responded well to other treatments.
  • Minimal Downtime. Botulinum injections are minimally invasive, requiring little to no downtime. Patients can typically resume their normal activities shortly after the procedure.
  • Personalized Approach. You can see neurologist using Botox for migraines, and therapy session is usually tailored to:
    • the patient’s specific symptoms;
    • pain syndrome.

This allows the treatment to be suitable to individual needs.

  • Supportive Care. Botulinum therapy can be part of a comprehensive approach to headache management. It complements lifestyle modifications and other treatments.

a woman is injected with Botox for migraines

What Does Botox Do for Migraines?

The drug has a myorelaxing and analgesic effect (3-6 months). Local injection of the drug into spasmed muscles leads to:

  • long-term relaxation;
  • breaks the vicious circle of chronic headache formation. We are talking about muscle spasms – pain – increased muscle spasms, etc. 

Botulinum toxin also blocks pain receptors of the:

  • trigeminal nerve system;
  • occipital nerves.

Botulinum therapy refers to the preventive treatment of migraine. It can reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. Prolonged botulinum toxin therapy can convert chronic migraines into episodic ones.

Advantages of Botox for migraines are:

  • appears the result in 3-7 days;
  • duration and severity of episodes are usually reduced by 3 months;
  • few contraindications and high safety;
  • well tolerated by the patient;
  • is combined with other methods of therapy;
  • has a reversible effect;
  • allows you to reduce the intake of drugs against migraine.

Botox for chronic migraines is usually carried out with a thin insulin syringe into the:

  • Gordian;
  • frontal;
  • frowning eyebrow;
  • temporal and occipital;
  • upper vertebral muscles at several points in each of them.

Doctors perform this according to the scheme developed by US neurologists. In the USA, since 1995, doctors have developed the method. Since 2004, the government has included it in the medical insurance program in the USA. Injections are usually accompanied by slightly unpleasant and quickly passing sensations. The doctor calculates a drug dose individually for the patient. It depends on the clinical picture of the disease. The average dose per procedure is 100 units of Botox. You can read more about what Botox does for migraines below.

Muscle relaxation

When doctors inject Botox into specific muscles, it targets nerve endings. They release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine transmits signals between nerves and muscles, leading to muscle contractions.

Botox contains botulinum toxin. It temporarily inhibits the release of acetylcholine from nerve endings. This interruption prevents communication between nerves and muscles. It effectively paralyzes or weakens the targeted muscle. As a result, the muscle becomes relaxed and less active.

This muscle relaxation has various applications:

  • from reducing wrinkles in cosmetic procedures;
  • to managing medical conditions such as muscle spasms and migraines.

 The relaxation of muscles can reduce tension and strain. It can address various issues related to muscle overactivity. Botox helps with headaches and contributes to improved quality of life for individuals seeking relief.

Blocking substances that stimulate the pain center in the brain

Botox exhibits a remarkable capability to intercept the cascade of events. They stimulate the pain center in the brain. Doctors achieve this by targeting neurotransmitters, particularly substances P and glutamate. These neurotransmitters play an important role in the transmission of pain signals. This occurs from their site of origin to pain processing centers in the brain.

When Botox for migraines goes into specific areas, it disrupts the release of P and glutamate. Substance P, in particular, plays a significant role in:

  • amplifying pain signals;
  • triggering the inflammatory response associated with pain. 

Botox effectively dampens the transmission of pain signals along nerve pathways. It happens by inhibiting the release of these neurotransmitters. 

This mechanism is fascinating in treating chronic pain conditions like:

  • migraines;
  • neuropathic pain;
  • muscle spasms. 

By blocking the substances that fuel pain perception, Botox alleviates discomfort. So, it contributes to the broader management of these conditions.

a woman is injected with Botox for migraines

Neurologist Using Botox for Migraines

Before the procedure, a mandatory consultation with a neurologist is required. As a rule, the doctor recommends the patient to keep a headache diary.

What it includes:

  • date when the attack occurred;
  • start and end time;
  • intensity on a scale of 10 (1 – no pain and 10 – intolerable pain);
  • triggers that caused the pain (a certain food, stress, odor, lack of sleep, the beginning of a cycle, and more);
  • precursors to pain (flies in front of the eyes, blurred vision, etc.);
  • taking medications – what kind, in what dosage.
  • There are also now various smartphone programs that help track headaches.

Detailed and regular filling of the diary by the patient will help the doctor. So he can more effectively select therapy for the treatment of migraine. You can easily watch some cephalologist or neurologist using Botox for migraines.

The drug is injected into points on the face, back of the neck, back of the neck, and upper arm. Such points from 31 to 39 are usually selected by the doctor individually. Injections are painless and safe. The dose of the drug is calculated for each patient individually. It depends on the clinical picture of the disease. The session, on average, takes 10-15 minutes.

It is important to select the required dose and inject the drug to get the maximum effect. Therefore, the procedure should always be performed by a neurologist. As the professional can tell you about how Botox helps with headaches.

Bottom Line

Do not tolerate headaches, which reduces the ability to work and social activity. It is necessary to consult a neurologist or cephalologist in time to reduce the intensity, frequency, and duration of migraine attacks and to avoid the transition of the disease into a chronic form. This approach effectively treats chronic migraines, enabling individuals to decrease or eliminate the use of pain relievers with potential negative effects on the body. In our center, you can find many professionals who perform the procedure of Botox for chronic migraines.

Experienced doctors will accurately determine the presence of indications for such treatment. This guarantees the patient the most effective result with a complete absence of risks and complications. Remember to read other articles about Botox and other medical articles. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact our clinic


How long does the effect of Botox for migraines last?

The effects of Botox for migraines typically last around 3 to 4 months. After this period, individuals may need to undergo another round of injections to maintain the benefits.

Are there any side effects of Botox for migraines?

There are usually no side effects if the drug is properly administered in the required doses. There may be swelling and discomfort after the session, which subsides during the day. Sometimes there is weakness in the injected muscles or located near the injection site. With certain physiological features, eyelid drooping is possible, which recovers within a month.

Is Botox a permanent cure for migraines?

Botox is not a permanent cure for migraines. While it can provide significant relief and reduce the frequency of migraines, its effects are temporary. Regular injections are necessary to sustain the benefits over time.

How soon can I expect to see results after Botox treatment?

It usually takes a few weeks to start noticing the effects of Botox treatment for migraines. Some individuals may experience improvement after the first treatment, but optimal results are typically seen after two or three treatment sessions. Patience is important as the treatment takes time to fully effect.

How do Botox injections work for migraine?

Botulinum toxin is injected subcutaneously into the patient, blocking signal transmission from the nerve to the affected muscle. This action halts muscle contractions and induces relaxation. The drug is locally administered to spasmed muscles, resulting in prolonged relief and pain reduction. The precise mechanism of botulinum toxin’s impact on migraines remains unclear.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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