Do Botox/Dysport help for migraines?

Hi Dr. Irwin, Thank you for taking the time to answer some many of our skin questions. I’ve been hearing about Botox injections in the masseter muscle to help slim the face. Some instagramers have mentioned that it also helps with migraines induced by jaw clenching or jaw tension. Have you found this to be helpful for your patients? I suffer from migraines that seem to start (in part) from tension in my jaw. Just wondering if this is an effective treatment or more internet nonsense. Thank you again!

You all ask such great questions! Migraines are a type of headache thought to be “vascular” in origin.  Vascular translated into plain English means related to blood vessels and blood flow.

For typical migraines:

  • They are often experienced in the area of the frown lines, or somewhere around the  frontal part of the head.
  • Often, a “prodrome” occurs, which happen just before the migraine. Symptoms like the following can persist for the whole migraine too. Nausea, changes in vision, fatigue, eyes feeling sensitive to lights are just some of them.
  • Because migraines last a variable amount of time, pain may last for hours or even days.
  • Neurologists are the specialists who are best at diagnosing and treating migraines.

Migraines that aren’t typical (atypical):

  • Because of the location, like the back of the head, or the upper jaw muscles, these can be hard to diagnose correctly.
  • Please see your doctor and make sure that these really ARE migraines!
  • TMJ and related jaw problems can cause headaches that may be similar, but not a migraine.

Substantial research has been done on common migraines and the use of Botox or Dysport for them. Most importantly, there is less research on Botox for atypical migraines. Problem is that some insurance companies will cover it and some won’t. Besides that, there is a question of who should be doing it. Neurologists are the only specialists trained to treat headaches… NOT dermatologists. A neurologist may be able to get insurance to cover it.

In addition, it really doesn’t make sense to me pay too much attention to what’s said on Instagram, since it’s all just random experiences. Therefore, we don’t even know if it’s being accurately reported, right?

Bottom line:

  • Make sure you have the right diagnosis.
  • In addition, have a neurologist treat you, or a TMJ specialist, if you want to try it.
  • Dentists and oral surgeons can be very helpful for jaw tension also.

Hope this helps,

Dr. Brandith Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!



Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
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