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Increased headaches after Botox

Hello Everyone!

I take botox shots every 3 months for my chronic migraines. I had my 4th set of shots on January 16,2024 and I suffer from more headaches after Botox. I was hoping that things would get better after a few weeks, but I have intense headaches ever since I got Botox. My experience was the same after my 3rd set of shots, but I was just telling myself that it could be a coincidence that am experiencing more pain and that I need to be patient, so I can give Botox more time to work until I see the results. At this point am planning to take a break from my next shot and see how it goes.

Has anyone experienced more headaches after Botox? Please share your thoughts and experiences.

  1. Ugh, I'm sorry to hear you're seeing increased head pain after Botox. We have heard this before - it may be coincidence, poor injection technique, or a combination of things. Has the doctor given you any information on this?

    I'm sure others will be along shortly to share their experiences with you.
    Will you keep us posted? Sending pain free wishes your way, Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Leader/Moderator Team

    1. I'm sorry to hear that you're experiencing an increase in migraine since the botox treatment. I'm sure that's incredibly disappointing and frustrating. Has your doctor set expectations on when you'll experience relief and how much relief you can expect to experience? Unfortunately some people can experience inconsistent results with Botox, especially in terms of when they experience relief. I do hope that you get relief soon. In the meantime, is there anything that helps to make you more comfortable during an attack such as ice, heat, massage or anything else? We're thinking of you and hope that you get relief soon.
      Alene, moderator

      1. I've had migraines since 1992, when the only migraine specific relief was Migranal, years before Imitrex was available. My first experience with Botox was at my pain management doctor's office, during the very first month insurance companies would cover the treatment. Unfortunately, I didn't find any relief after undergoing two separate series of shots. A few years later a second doctor, specializing in pain management, tried twice and failed to produce any relief. Then, in preparation for having a nerve impingement surgery done by a plastic surgeon (absolutely the BEST relief I've found), I underwent several different pinpoint injections, including Botox, meant to last just a few days to test my nerve involvement. The Botox test left me with 3 days of horrible migraine pain. The surgery was a complete success. I rarely have pain in the area he addressed, but I still have pain in other areas of my head.
        I'm now seeing a new neurologist who specializes in migraines, and the first thing she wanted me to do, even before my first appointment, was Botox. I've found that each doctor along the way has boasted of their own "special method" of application of Botox. However, once the medication is injected, if there is a negative response (like an allergy or migraine pain) you have to wait out the life cycle of the medication for relief. So far she's gone along with my refusal, but none of the new medicines we've tried have worked either.
        I think I have to put Botox in with the countless other medications I've tried that haven't worked, especially given the long recovery time if it causes problems. However, there's always a little "but what if..." doubt that lives on, spurred by the overwhelming desire to find pain relief. It's kept me searching for 30 years.

        1. I'm sorry to hear that you've been struggling with migraine for so many years and with so many attempts to find relief. One thing that really stands out to me in your story is such a strong sense of resilience that you have. That take a lot of energy and resilience to try so many doctors and rounds of treatment. It's certainly not a level of resilience that any of us wanted to need in life, but I do hope that you give yourself credit for persevering as well as you have over these years. Always remember that you're not alone in this and that we're here to support you in any way that we can.
          Alene, Team Member

      2. Thank you for the encouragement. I’ve also tried “alternative methods” like acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, biofeedback and meditation. Some provided temporary relief, especially biofeedback and acupuncture, but by that time I was having migraines 3-4 days/week—not manageable to be driving to appointments in order to get the treatments. Unfortunately both of my daughters have migraines and neither one of them have found an effective treatment. I know migraines often run in families; I don’t know if the intractability is.

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