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Botox and Chronic Migraine

planner and botox for migraine

Botox and chronic migraine have an unexpected relationship. On the one hand, the idea of getting injections in your head may sound painful and unbearable. However, when you consider the amount of pain a person with migraine can be in the 30+ shots of Botox becomes a source of hope for a person with migraine. 

Why Consider Botox?

Chronic migraine is ranked second among health disorders. Many people living with chronic migraine have tried many other treatments. These may include both preventative and rescue medications. They may have seen the effectiveness of these medications change over time, which led them to a new search. Botox is not typically a treatment option rushed into by patients. However, when a person living with chronic migraine, 15 or more headache days a month, wants to know how they can improve their quality of life, Botox becomes an option. 

migraine patient

Living with chronic migraine means missing out on parts of life and finding a way to decrease headache days would be a way to improve a migraine patient’s quality of life. That makes Botox so much more than a cosmetic option. It has become a life changer in the healthcare world. That could leave you asking, why not Botox?

How Does Botox Work?

This is the kind of medication that makes our reality of possibilities just hard to fathom. Yet our medical advancements continue to grow every day. According to John Hopkins, “Evidence suggests that the drug interrupts the pathway of pain from the brain (central nervous system) and nerves that extend from the spinal cord.” So botulinum toxin has become a pain reducer and not just a wrinkle eraser. Although, a combination isn’t all that bad of an idea either. 

Are There Side Effects?

As with any medication or treatment, this is a common question and can vary from person to person. It is important to discuss all concerns and reactions with your doctor. Barrow Neurological Institute outlines these to include drooping of the eyelid or brow and neck or shoulder weakness. Other side effects include headache, neck pain, flu-like symptoms, and muscle pain. These can range in severity for each person so again please consult your healthcare provider with any concerns or questions.


What Are The Risks?

Patients want to know treatments are safe and you should do your due diligence and find out the facts. Botox is not for everyone, but it can be helpful for some. John Hopkins explains that nursing or pregnant mothers, as well as those with an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, should not receive Botox injections. 

Each person will have to weigh the costs and benefits of Botox. This decision should be informed and one the patient is comfortable with. 

Personal Experience

My migraine journey is a long one. I know how debilitating this disease can be and how discouraging it can be to have medications that don’t do what you want them to. I have gone through countless medications, including preventatives and rescue medicines. 

Initially, when my neurologist mentioned Botox, I did not think it was not for me. At the first talk about it, I had not tried a CGRP. So, I went that route first. It helped for a while. Then things changed. I now have that in my armory, as well as, three other preventatives. Now Botox is a part of my toolkit.

There was a time I didn’t think I would be on this much medicine either, but then I decided I had to be on board with what would help my quality of life. I have never avoided something that might help. I tried to question, research, and diligently seek out answers. I owe that to myself and my family.

So, my first set of injections brought no drama. I noticed a difference that seemed too good to be true. Was it a coincidence? I heard you likely would not see much benefit until a few treatments. Well, things changed, and made that statement abundantly clear in my experience. Remember, every person is different. My story is not your story.

With my second set of injections, the timing was not in my favor. I had a severe attack about a week after I received those injections. There had not been enough time for them to take effect and my other medications were not managing that migraine attack. I ended up being admitted to the hospital. So, doctors determined this was a part of my migraine struggles and not due to Botox. However, there was so much more to come.

Migraine typed

After my third set, it was a whole other story. I left the office and thought I was feeling ok. However, by late that night I had a migraine attack start. It was too late to reach out to coworkers, and it got worse fast. By the next morning, I was in unbearable pain. My husband took me to the hospital. I was admitted and stayed for five days. It was determined that Botox triggered my attack. As my neurologist explained, that can be a side effect. 

Wait, there is a silver lining. After I recovered and dealt with the consequences of being in the hospital, I had 3 weeks with only one migraine attack! My hope was the Botox treatments were working and in the long run this would be the right path with less pain.

Now, you might think I was giving up on Botox or would be too apprehensive to go for the fourth round! However, my trusted neurologist insisted I not and reminded me of the difference in my beginning treatments. The first two had not resulted in the same severe attack. So, we created a plan. I had meds to prep with, ensured I didn’t make any big plans before or after my appointment, and did my best to avoid any triggers I could control. We know we can’t control them all.

Fortunately, it went well! No migraine after that set of injections, and I am hopeful for the future! There were some rough patches for sure, but maybe this will lead me to a better migraine life. I will continue to share my journey. 

Bottom Line

Each person knows their own body, and you must be sure to tell your health story.  It is important to share how you are doing with your doctor so they know if the treatment is helping and how it is affecting your life. Having a doctor you can trust is so important in your care. You should feel encouraged and supported. I know that as I work with my doctor we will continue the journey and she will not give up on finding what works. Read more about my journey in Migraine Rescue Meds: A Long Journey and continue to read more and find support on migraineroad.

heart and stethescope


Becker, W. J. (2020, December 17). Botulinum toxin in the treatment of headache. Toxins.

Botox for chronic migraine. Barrow Neurological Institute. (2023, March 28).

Botulinum toxin injectables for migraines. JHM. (2021, October 15).


Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the medical and health area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any medical or health-related decisions. For your health-related questions, please seek the advice of a licensed physician or any other qualified healthcare provider immediately.

18 thoughts on “Botox and Chronic Migraine”

  1. This is so fascinating! I know so many people who have suffered from chronic migraines and this will be great information to share. Thank you for sharing your journey and this really helpful information.

  2. You have been on quite the journey. I love that you stayed committed and have a great medical team who have your best interests in mind. Where I live that is getting harder and harder to come by sadly. I hope the Botox becomes a thing that helps you more and more going forward. You deserve some relief.

  3. I have suffered from migraines myself, actually a very rare type of migraine that was leaving me sick for days. I got better with a trigger management plan and put it into remission. Anyway great blog and great tips!

  4. I had no idea migraines are as prevalent as to be #2 in chronic health disorders! It’s good to know there is hope out there for migraine sufferers.

  5. Wow! I didn’t know that botox can help with this. Thanks for sharing, and I will share it with a friend of mine who suffers migraine a lot!

  6. It’s great that the Botox ended up working so well for you. I used Botox for a while, and wasn’t the happiest about how it make my eyebrows droop. They ended up taking me off of it because I was getting it in my jaw area as well for TMJ, and they were concerned about skin sagging. It’s amazing now all the different options available for people, and you never know which combination of meds is going to work for you. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  7. I had a migraine once and I know how bad the experience can be. I’m so sorry that you have these chronically and often. I’m glad you have many tools in your toolbox to help with migraines. Thank you for sharing this information with others so they too can have what they need to help them.

  8. Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ll send your post to a colleague who’s been suffering for years. She hasn’t tried Botox yet, as far as I know. But it may be worth a try!

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