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 13

Botox and migraine

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. 

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Botox use for headaches

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
4.7 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Botox and relief of tension headaches

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 37 reviews

Botox/Tension Headaches: Up to Two Weeks for Results

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?

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.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Depends on what causes the headaches

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
4.3 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Botox can work for tension headaches

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

Anatoli Freiman, MD
Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

There is not guarantee the this treatment will work.

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
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Botox For Tension Headaches

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

BOTOX® usually starts to work within a few days for muscle tension headaches

Most of my patients who have muscle tension headaches start to improve within a few days after treatment with BOTOX®, and generally reach maximum improvement within a week or two. This is also true for migraine headches and some other forms of headache. Some patients improve in a stepwise manner, and with each treatment session [usually every 3-4 months] find that the frequency and intensity of their headaches is further reduced, with corresponding reductions in their consumption of medications.

About 80% of headache patients are pleased with the results of BOTOX® treatment. There are a few patients who do not benefit at all from BOTOX® for headaches, or who even dislike BOTOX® treatment. The reason for this is not known.


Kevin C. Smith, MD
Niagara Falls Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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.