How Long Does Botox Take to Work if Used for Tension Headaches?

 How quickly does this treatment work to relieve tension headaches and how does it compare to medication? Also, how long does it last?

Doctor Answers 14

Botox for headaches

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Botox takes about 3-4 days before you will notice any effect, and about 7-10 days before full effect is felt. It will last about 3-4 months.  

The mechanism of botox is totally different from medication so it is hard to compare directly.  Studies thus far have shown a reduction from about 15 headaches per month to 7 or 8.  Not perfect, but it definitely helps!


Best of luck

Dr Rodman


Botox and migraine

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Botox been used with good success in cases of migraine headache. Botox action usually takes 3-5 days to work. The duration varies between 2-3 months. 

Botox use for headaches

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Botox is used successfully in many patients with both tension and migraine type headaches.  The Botox should take effect in a few days but can take 7-10 days to have maximum benefit.  Result should last 3-4 months in most patients.  Most patients with migraine headaches will still need some rescue medications but studies have shown about a 50% decrease in headache frequency and severity with Botox use.

Carey Nease, MD
Chattanooga Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Botox and relief of tension headaches

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Botox has been noted to help some patients with migraines, and other patients with tension headaches, especially those who get relief from injecting the glabella of the forehead (between the eyebrows) get relief usually within a few days of the Botox being injected.  They tend to konw when to schedule the next treatment even before seeing the wrinkles reforming, when they start to feel headaches recur around three to four months.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Botox/Tension Headaches: Up to Two Weeks for Results

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While some patients may experience immediate relief (within a day) with the use of Botox for tension headaches, full effects may not occur for up to two weeks.

Ava Shamban, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

How Long Does Botox Take to Work if Used for Tension Headaches?

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Botox, Dysport and Xeomin all tale several days to reach peak effects and last several months.  This would be the same regardless of where the neurotoxin was injected.

Depends on what causes the headaches

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If your tension headaches are caused by muscles, those muscles must be treated for the best results.  Several of my patients get relief from their headaches when we inject their facial muscles - particularly in the forehead and glabella.  These patients know for sure their botox is wearing off when they start getting headaches again.  Other times it may be neck or jaw muscles that initiate the headache - so these would need to be relaxed, without losing enough power so that you can still chew and keep your head up!  The onset of action of Botox is anywhere from 3-10 days, so you should feel results within that time period if it's going to work.  Good luck!

Laura E. Skellchock, MD (in memoriam)
Boca Raton Dermatologic Surgeon

Botox can work for tension headaches

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Botox can work for tension headaches and the results can be apparent usually few days after treatment.

Anatoli Freiman, MD
Toronto Dermatologist

There is not guarantee the this treatment will work.

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Certainly if you have not had benefit at the end of 10 days then it is very likely that your treatment is not working for you.  Tension headaches do require a sufficient dose of BOTOX in the right muscle groups to be effective.  So even if the initial treatment was not effective, it is still possible that additional treatment might be beneficial.  I would encourage you to work with a neurologist with experience with this type of treatment.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Botox For Tension Headaches

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Botox tends to work very well for tension headaches.  It usually starts to work within a few days of your treatment, but I always tell my patients to wait a full two weeks before deciding on whether or not they have achieved the desired result.  Initially you still may need to take Tylenol or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication for your headaches, but the need for this should diminish as your Botox kicks in!

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.