woman getting BOTOX in forehead

Migraine Botox is exactly what it sounds like: using Botox (aka OnabotulinumtoxinA) injections around the head and neck in order to cure chronic migraines. This treatment recently came about in 2010, after patients with migraines reported less pain after they got Botox; this is fascinating because these initial patients actually only went in for cosmetic reasons! It is thought that Migraine Botox works because Botox blocks chemicals called neurotransmitters which tell us when we are in pain (sort of like how when you put your hand near a fire, your body tells you it is hot so that you move your hand and prevent injury). Since the neurotransmitters are not functioning correctly, they do not get picked up by the nerve endings, causing no “pain” response. Regardless of how Migraine Botox was discovered, it has produced some amazing results. In a study, nearly half the people who took two rounds of Botox shots reported that they experienced a fifty percent reduction in the number of headaches they had out of the month. After five rounds of treatment, that increased to seventy percent of people (Bernstein).

Now, you might be asking, “Am I Eligible?”. Well, if you have a history of migraine headaches and/or experience tension-like headaches for 15 or more days of the month (which typically last for more than four hours a day or longer), this treatment might work for you. Doctor Andrew Blumenfeld, the Director of The Headache Center of Southern California, says that “the more frequent the headaches, the better the patient does with Botox”, which makes this treatment especially viable for patients who greatly exceed these requirements (American Migraine Foundation).

So, suppose you are eligible, what does treatment even look like? Well here is what you should expect; first, your doctor will inject Botox into the tiny muscles under your skin throughout various areas around your face, head, neck, and possibly your “trigger points” (where the headache pain originates) with a very VERY small needle. This will feel somewhat like little pinpricks. You might need additional injections in your forehead, temples, and the back of your head, depending on what your doctor sees fit. These treatments are highly individualized depending on the migraine, where the pain is felt, frequency of headaches, and how long they last for. And that is it! Each treatment typically consists of 30 injections in seven key areas around the head and neck, however more might be needed depending on the patient.

While Botox is technically classified as a neurotoxic, it is completely safe since it is not being digested in the stomach and the treatment uses such a small amount. That being said, there are some risks and possible side effects. Neck pain and headache are two of the most common side effects (and using an ice pack is recommended to reduce some of the discomfort). Some people might also experience pain, bruising, or swelling where the drug was injected, however, this usually goes away within a day or so. While it is rare, some people can have an allergic reaction to Botox, which can present itself as hives, shortness of breath, or swelling of the lower legs.

Migraine Botox is one of the only FDA approved methods for treating migraines, so if you are eligible, try asking your doctor or talking to an oculoplastic surgeon to see if it is right for you!


Bernstein, S. (n.d.). Botox injections for migraines: How it treats migraine headaches. WebMD. Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/botox-migraines

Botox for Migraine. American Migraine Foundation. (2022, March 9). Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/botox-for-migraine/

Back to Blog
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at 914-340-3869.
Contact Us