Migraines can be debilitating and incredibly difficult to treat. When you suffer from these pounding headaches, anything that offers even a bit of relief can feel like a miracle. If you’ve already tried a lot of treatments to no avail, you may want to consider Botox for migraines.  

Contrary to popular belief, Botox is much more than a cosmetic treatment. Medical Botox is approved to treat a few different disorders, including chronic migraines. In this post, we’ll go over everything you should know about Botox injections for migraines, including how they work, how many units you’ll need and where, potential side effects, and more. 

First: Migraines Explained

If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know that they’re so much worse than a simple headache. Migraines cause moderate to severe throbbing or pulsating pain, usually impacting one side of the head. The pain can be so severe that it also leads to nausea or visual disturbances called “auras.” Chronic migraines are diagnosed based on the patient having migraines for 15 days or more every month. 

Migraines are caused by the abnormal activation of nerve fibers in the brain, which leads to pain. The underlying causes or triggers differ from patient to patient and often include extreme stress, lack of sleep, bright lights, diet, genetics, and hormones. 

In many cases, the triggers can be too numerous or hard to identify. This also means that patients sometimes have to try a lot of different treatments and lifestyle changes before they find a solution that works for them. 

How Does Botox Work for Migraines?

As a neurotoxin, Botox works by disrupting the communication between nerves and the brain. It reduces migraines by blocking the release of neurotransmitters that carry pain signals, thereby preventing migraines. 

Botox is approved by the FDA as a treatment for chronic migraines, based on clinical trials that showed that Botox can cut down the number of migraine days by approximately 50%. Newer studies show it can also reduce pain severity and the overall impact of migraines on patients’ lives.

Where Is Botox Injected for Migraines?

Botox for migraines is normally injected across 31-39 standard injection sites in the temples, forehead, between the brows, back of the head, back of the neck, and tops of the shoulders. The injection pattern is usually consistent from patient to patient, but your doctor may recommend adding more injection sites based on the specific areas where you experience pain during your migraines. 


botox for migraines injection sites
How Many Units of Botox Do You Need for Migraines?

The recommended number of units of Botox for migraines is 155-195. Compared to cosmetic Botox, this number of units can seem high, but migraines are complex with many nerves involved, so this is key to ensuring the efficacy of the treatment. 

Does Botox for Migraines Change Your Face?

Botox injections for migraines won’t make you look like a different person, but they can make your face look more youthful. While migraine Botox injections primarily target the pain, they do also relax muscles involved in the formation of some wrinkles. You may notice softer or less visible forehead wrinkles and frown lines, although not to the same extent as with cosmetic Botox. 

Botox for Migraines Side Effects

The most common Botox for migraines side effects include neck pain, soreness in the injection sites, eyelid drooping, and muscle weakness. All of these occur in less than 5% of patients and aren’t considered severe. The main risks include allergic reactions and toxin spread. Speak to your doctor about your medical history to ensure you’re a good candidate for Botox for migraines. 

How Long Does Botox Last for Migraines?

The effects of a Botox injection for migraines last for approximately 3 months, although this can differ from patient to patient. Keep in mind that after the injection, Botox normally takes two weeks to start taking effect. 

Some patients may need to go through two treatment cycles before they notice significant headache reduction. In most studies, Botox was re-injected every 12 weeks, so consider doing the same if you’d like to avoid gaps in your migraine relief treatment. 

Can You Get Botox Injections for Other Types of Headaches? 

Botox only has FDA approval for treating chronic migraines, but doctors may recommend it to treat other types of headaches. Recent studies show Botox has the potential to offer relief for recurring tension headaches and cluster headaches, but such use is considered off-label. Those prone to clenching their jaw may also experience some headache relief with masseter Botox.  Speak to your doctor to learn more about whether Botox may be a solution for the types of headaches you experience.

Where to Get Botox for Migraines

If you’re interested in getting Botox treatment for migraines, it’s important to look for a doctor who’s a headache specialist or neurologist and who has experience providing medical Botox injections. 

You can ask your primary care doctor for a referral, or see what’s available through your insurance. Keep in mind that Botox is rarely considered a first-line treatment for migraines, so you may have to try other interventions first before your doctor will recommend Botox.

The Do-It-All Injectable

What Botox can do is truly incredible. If you’ve been suffering from migraines for a long time now, this might be the treatment that finally helps you feel better. 

In addition to treating chronic migraines, Botox can also reduce sweating, prevent muscle spasms, or it can simply help you feel younger and more refreshed. 

At med spas like SEV, we specialize in cosmetic Botox treatments. If you’re curious about how Botox can help with aesthetic concerns like wrinkles in the forehead or around the eyes, feel free to book a consultation with us.