Botox & Stress Headaches?

I suffer from Chronic Stress Headaches and have tried everything from Beta Blockers to wkly massage therapy. Had Botox on frown lines last week and she claims the Botox will help with my headaches. My headaches are mostly in the upper part of my neck at the back, she said I could try a few units back there and it should help! Relief sounds amazing ... but I'm worried about that - as I need those muscles to hold my head up! LOL! Can't find anything online ... can anyone offer insight on this?

Doctor Answers 12

Botox for headaches

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I have treated countless people with headaches using Botox and have had mixed results. Generally speaking, I do find many people improve, but not everyone. Some people have less intensity of headaches, some less frequent, and some shorter duration. Both migraine and stress headaches seem to improve, but again not in everyone. I have treated the neck and scalp safely and at the low doses used, you won't have trouble lifting your head up. That said, make sure you've also seen a neurologist to consider some of the antidepressants and anticonvulsants that can be effective for headaches.

Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Botox and stress headaches

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Injections like this into the neck won't affect the ability to lift your head, I promise. Only a few units are injected and they are only put into trigger points which means that muscle can't tighten and constrict the way it did before, but it still functions as a muscle and holds up your head! I have injected lots and lots of patients over the years for migraines and stress headaches, in varying places. Many of them claim they have improvement - less headaches, less frequency, less pain, and whatnot. I will not tell you it works for everyone because it doesn't. But combined with other medications and management, for some, it is the best relief.

Botox and Tension Headaches

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   This may be reasonable, but I have only done this for migraine headaches.  I do not think that the Botox injected would be of large enough dose to paralyze those much larger muscles, so I would not have that particular worry.  I am not sure how effective this would be.

Botox for headaches originating in the neck

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This may be an indication for 'therapeutic Botox' (not cosmetic) and Board Certified and trained neurologists in a busy headache clinic have a lot of experience doing it safely. It is covered by medical insurance when injected by a neurologist and you should seek their care - it will help your symptoms in better than 80% of cases according to the literature.

Botox for tension headache

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I have many patients in my practice who I treat with botox for cosmetic purposes who also state that they have had near complete resolution of their tension headaches following treatment.  

I have not treated the region of the back of the neck with botox for the purpose of headaches but it would not likely cause any difficulty holding your head up as the muscle groups in this region are very large in comparison to the mimetic musculature of the face.

Best of luck with the headaches,

Dr. LeBeau 

Jacque P. LeBeau, MD
Pensacola Facial Plastic Surgeon

Botox helps some people with headaches and wrinkles

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Botox has received attention for its effects, not only for reducing wrinkles, but also for its benefit in headaches. There can certainly be some double benefit - especially if there are injections done in the forehead area. However, often the headache trigger points are at the back of the neck; so no cosmetic benefit would be had from injection there.

It is a very nice bonus, if you receive botox for cosmetic reasons, and your headaches disappear.Your neurologist (headache specialist) should be able to offer insight as to the cause of your headache, and the feasibility of botox.

Christopher J. Peers, MD
South Bend Facial Plastic Surgeon

Botox and headaches

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There is no question that botox helps headaches but only if it is injected into the muscles where the headaches are starting. If your headaches are on the back of your head and you are getting botox injected in the front it will not do you any good.  It should not interfere with your ability to hold up your head.  

Robert Kearney, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Botox for headaches

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Botox has been known to work very well for headaches and migraines, but it's not always guaranted to work.  I am not certain that it will work too well with stress headaches.  I would suggest seeing a neurologist with experience in injecting Botox for headaches and obtaining their expertise.

Ritu Saini, MD - Account Suspended
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Botox for Headaches

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Botox is FDA approved for chronic migraines, and there are specific points in the head and neck that one can inject into to alleviate the condition.  I would consider seeing a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of Botox for headaches for treatment. Good luck!

Sabrina Fabi, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Botox for migraines

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Botox can help some people with migraines, not everybody.  For stress headaches I don't think it will be helpful.
You are correct that if you were to relax muscles that support your head you may find that your head feels heavier.  I would recommend muscle relaxing creams first before you consider paralytics such as Botox.  

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 521 reviews

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