1st May 2021

Can Botox Cure Migraines?

Last Modified: April 18, 2024

Those who have migraines regularly don’t need a definition of them. The intense, regular headaches are notoriously one of the most acute pains in a person’s life. What’s worse is that there isn’t any one treatment that works for all migraine sufferers.

Everyone also experiences migraines differently. Some report nausea while others do not. Some report auras--a more severe form of migraine that includes vision distortions, numbness and tingling, and difficulty with speech.

They also experience migraine pain in different places around the face, head, neck and shoulders. Doctors have, however, been able to define two general “classes” of migraine: migraine with aura and migraine without aura.

Migraine without Aura

Migraines without an aura are far more common than migraines that have an aura, though it is possible that a person who suffers migraines may have both throughout their life. 

Unofficially dubbed the “common” migraine, a migraine without an aura is a little less severe in its symptoms. Of course, it is still very painful and for chronic sufferers of migraines debilitating.

A migraine without an aura normally lasts somewhere between 4 and 72 hours. It includes moderate to severe pain on only one side of the head. This pain worsens when moving. Light and sounds may also worsen the pain. 

Nausea is also commonly reported, though the absence of nausea doesn’t necessarily preclude the pain from being classified as a migraine.

Migraine with Aura 

A migraine with an aura is much less common--occurring only in 25% of suffers--than one without, though it is also more severe and often debilitating.

A migraine with an aura, firstly, includes all of the symptoms that a migraine without one does: sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and moderate to severe pain localized to one side of the head or face.

This variant of migraine also comes with an “aura” that affects parts of the nervous system before the actual pain. The most common aura involves visual problems: blurred vision or “holes of light” somewhere in a field of view.

Of course, because the migraine is affecting the nervous system there are a lot of other possible symptoms: difficulty speaking, tingling and numbness, double vision, and difficulty hearing are just a few. 

Botox for Migraines

People who get migraines commonly claim that they’re the worst pain that they’ve experienced. They’re frequently debilitating, sidelining sufferers for four days or more each migraine. Chronic suffers, those who report 15 or more days with migraine pain a month, are especially difficult cases.

There is some good news, though.

Botulinum toxin--popularly known as botox--was approved for the treatment of migraines in 2010. The same injections that help prevent deepening wrinkles can also help provide relief from migraine pain.

In fact, in an initial study using botox to treat migraines in adults, over 50% of all sufferers reported relief from their migraines after one treatment. After 5 treatments, 70% of patients reported feeling relief.

How Does Botox Cure Migraines?

Botox is a neurotoxin that blocks nerve signals and paralyzes muscles. When introduced into the stomach, it can be deadly. However, when injected subdermally in small doses it’s perfectly safe.

When injected, it deadens the surrounding area and paralyzes the small muscles around the injection site. When used to treat signs of aging, it’s normally employed to remove wrinkles and it does that by paralyzing the muscles that cause the wrinkles.

Those same effects are what help prevent pain from migraines.

When injected around common areas related to migraine pain, botox prevents the area from sending pain signals caused by migraines. Ultimately, this action prevents the migraine sufferer from feeling the pain associated with migraines. This results in more “crystal clear,” migraine free days.

What does botox treatment for migraines entail?

Your aesthetician or headache specialist will determine the exact nature of your treatment. Generally, though, botox treatments for migraines include a number of injections around common areas that send pain signals to the brain during a migraine.

Botox Injection Sites to Prevent Migraines

 Image demonstrating botox treatment for migraines. It shows several of the common botox injection areas used to treat migraines: around the forehead, between the eyes, around the temple and at the base of the skull.
Treating migraines with botox includes a number of injections around seven key trouble areas. The injections will prevent the area from sending pain signals to the brain, effectively stopping migraines before they start.

There are roughly 31 injection sites in seven general areas: the forehead, between the eyes, the temple, the base of the skull behind the ears, the base of the neck, and the trapezius (the muscles running along the neck to the shoulder).

Your treatment plan will include targeted injections to the areas that you report cause the most pain. Treatment may include up to 30 shots.

You should be free of migraine pain within 2 or 3 weeks of treatment, though multiple treatments may be required for severe effects. The results from botox injections for migraines will be effective for up to three months, though how long the treatment lasts depends on various factors, such as metabolism.

Ready for Relief?

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Aesthetica to assess if botox may be able to help with your migraines. You’ll receive a treatment plan that will help you finally be pain free.

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 1st May 2021
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

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