Headaches & Migraines Specialist

R2 Medical Centers

Casey Walker, DC

Chiropractor located in Lowell, IN

About 15% of adults in the United States experience severe headaches or migraines, and a recent survey found that about one in five respondents has multiple headaches per month. Chiropractic care can be an effective treatment for some headache pain. Dr. Casey Walker and the team at R2 Medical Centers in Lowell, Indiana, can evaluate your situation and help you begin a life with less pain. Call the office or use the online booking tool to schedule your appointment.

Headaches & Migraines Q & A

What kinds of headaches are there? 

Primary headaches are conditions on their own, not symptoms of other, underlying problems. Some types of primary headaches are: 

Migraines
Cluster headaches
Tension headaches
Secondary headaches are those that are caused by some other problem. Some secondary headaches include: 
Sinus headaches
Headaches due to concussion
Hangover headaches

The most appropriate treatment plan for your headache depends on the cause of your pain. 

How can chiropractic care help headache pain? 

Chiropractic adjustments are especially useful for treating tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches -- those caused by problems in the neck. 

Cervicogenic headaches are notoriously difficult to treat, and medications are often not helpful. A study published in 2017 compared three groups of people with cervicogenic headaches. One group received chiropractic adjustments, the second received “sham adjustments” or placebo, and the third received standard treatment that did not involve manual manipulation. 

The group receiving chiropractic adjustments experienced the most improvement, suggesting that chiropractic care is a safe, effective treatment for cervicogenic headaches. 

Is physical therapy an option for headache treatment? 

Physical therapy or rehabilitation may be the best treatment option for relieving your headache pain. However, it’s important that an experienced clinician identify the treatment plan that’s most likely to work for your individual situation. 

A review of recent published studies found that physical therapy is most effective for certain types of headaches. Tension and cervicogenic headaches appear to respond better to physical therapy than other types, and the treatment of migraine with physical therapy is somewhat controversial. 

A typical physical therapy session for headache pain is likely to involve manual therapy, exercises to strengthen the neck and shoulders, or education on posture and neck position. 

Can massage therapy reduce the frequency of headache pain? 

Depending on the type of headache, massage may be an effective treatment. The group of muscles in the neck called the suboccipitals work in concert with the muscles of the jaw to keep the head balanced. These muscles can become overworked and develop trigger points or small tight knots or spasms. 

Some people find relief from migraines with massage therapy. Massage can improve circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and help you relax. 

What is the difference between a headache and a migraine?

Headaches cause pain in the head, face, or upper neck, and can vary in frequency and intensity. A migraine is an extremely painful primary headache disorder. Migraines usually produce symptoms that are more intense and debilitating than headaches. Some types of migraines do not cause head pain, however.

Here are some common types of headaches:

Primary headaches

A primary headache is not a symptom of an underlying illness. Instead, these headaches result from problems involving the structures of the head and neck.

A primary headache may be due to overactivity of:

  • specific areas of the brain
  • blood vessels
  • muscles
  • nerves
  • brain chemicals

Common types of primary headaches include cluster and tension headaches.

Also, headaches can result from using medication for the pain too often. In this case, a person has a medication overuse headache, and this is another type of primary headache.

Secondary headaches

These are symptoms of underlying medical conditions. The cause of a secondary headache may be:

  • pregnancy
  • systemic issues such as an infection
  • hypothyroidism
  • giant cell arteritis
  • a stroke
  • a brain tumor

Secondary headaches can result from serious health issues. It is important to seek medical advice if any headache:

  • is severe or disruptive
  • is persistent
  • occurs regularly
  • does not improve with medication
  • occurs alongside other symptoms, such as confusion, a fever, sensory changes, or stiffness in the neck

Tension-type headache

This is a common form of primary headache. The pain usually arises gradually, in the middle of the day.

A person may feel:

  • as if they have a tight band around their head
  • a constant, dull ache on both sides of the head
  • pain spreading to or from the neck

Tension-type headaches may be:

Episodic: These attacks usually last for a few hours, though they can last for several days.

Chronic: This involves tension-type headaches occurring on 15 or more days per month for at least 3 months.

Migraine

A migraine headache may involve pulsating, throbbing pain. It often occurs on one side of the head but may switch sides.

During an episode, a person may also experience:

  • lightheadedness
  • sensory disturbances, such as changes in vision, known as an aura
  • sensitivity to light or sound
  • nausea, possibly with vomiting

Migraine headaches are the second most common form of primary headache. They can significantly impact the quality of life.

A migraine episode may last from a few hours to 2–3 days. The frequency of episodes can vary greatly; they may occur from once a week to once a year.

See a doctor if you experience headaches that:

  • Occur more often than usual
  • Are more severe than usual
  • Worsen or do not improve with appropriate use of over-the-counter drugs
  • Keep you from working, sleeping, or participating in normal activities
  • Cause you distress and you would like to find treatment options that enable you to control them better

Why do some people get migraines and others do not?

Migraines may be caused by both genetics and your environment. For example, if your mom has chronic migraines, you may, too. But if you do not have a family history of migraines, then they could be caused by a variety of things—from changes in the weather to too much stress and not handling stress effectively.

Additional Recommendations may include

Nutrition which may be food recommendations to help minimize symptoms to Biotics supplements to help balance your body to help eliminate what causing your headaches and migraines.

Alkaline water is, simply put, water that is less acidic than regular water. It is rich in alkalizing compounds, including calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate. Alkaline Water is a powerful antioxidant, and it works to balance the pH levels of the body and promote better hydration. It also detoxes your body and boosts your immune system to help you stay healthier and fight off the development of harmful health conditions.

 Other benefits include:

  • Neutralized acid in the bloodstream
  • Improved metabolism so that your body processes nutrients more effectively
  • Improved energy
  • Enhanced weight loss
  • Helps detoxify your body and reduces inflammation

Trigger point injection (TPI) may be an option for treating pain in some patients. TPI is a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin. Trigger points may irritate the nerves around them, and cause referred pain, or pain that is felt in another part of the body.

What Happens During a Trigger Point Injection?

In the TPI procedure, a health care professional inserts a small needle into the patient's trigger point. The injection contains a local anesthetic or saline and may include a corticosteroid. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated. Often, a brief course of treatment will result in sustained relief. Injections are given in a doctor's office and usually take just a few minutes. Several sites may be injected in one visit. If a patient has an allergy to a certain drug, a dry-needle the technique (involving no medications) can be used.

Patient Success Stories

"When I came to R2 Medical I had horrible neck and trap pain. Dr. Casey and his A+ staff worked well with me due to their flexible schedule, commitment to therapy, and the ability to bring my daughter to the clinic. All these things helped me keep my 3X weekly visits. Not only do I wake up with less pain every morning, I feel like I have gained a second family! Thank R2 Medical!"   ~Danielle

"I came to R2 Medical for an issue with my left trap muscle which interfered with turning my head to the left. Dr. Casey's course of   treatment has resulted in the restoration of full motion!" -John

"Before coming in, my shoulders and neck were giving me excruciating pain and tightness that caused headaches on a weekly basis. The program is very thorough and necessary. Midway throughout the program, I started experiencing pain at the bottom of the foot and Doctor Casey and his staff went the extra mile to me with that too! Their custom orthotics made from their foot scanner are far more comfortable and helpful than anything I had before. The pain is totally gone, thank you R2 Medical Centers!” ~Jennifer

"I first made an appointment with Dr. Casey to address my chronic migraines, as luck (or misfortune) had it, I ended up severely injuring my back the day of my appointment. Dr. Casey, Kim, Kennedy, and his staff were compassionate, attentive, and effective for treating both issues!!  In addition, they were understanding of my timidity to stretch in an open room and worked with me every step of the way. I cannot recommend Dr. Casey and his staff enough! I am back to teaching music and coaching as I did before my injury. Thank you!" ~MELISSA