Are you suffering from headaches?

Our multidisciplinary approach has helped headache sufferers in Montreal for over 20 years. We look forward to the opportunity of not only reducing the intensity and frequency of your headaches, but getting rid of them for good.

On this page…

  • What causes headaches?
  • Types of headaches
  • Who should you consult for your headaches?
  • About consulting us for your headaches
  • Further reading on headaches

Headaches are generally defined as pain in any region of the head. The pain may be localized in one area, may spread from one region to another or may involve the entire head. A headache may appear suddenly or gradually, may present as a sharp, dull or throbbing sensation, and may last from seconds to several days.

Headaches are prevalent around the world with most people experiencing a headache at least once in their lifetime. For some, it can be a relatively tolerable problem, but for others it can be debilitating. Indeed, headaches are a major cause of school and work absenteeism. Headaches can also take a toll of a sufferer’s emotional health and have a negative effect on their family and social life.

What causes headaches?

Understanding the potential source of your pain

Your head contains a complex collection of interconnected bones, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. Various factors can affect the balance between these tissues and result in the generation of pain.

Here is a list of the most common causes of headaches:

  • Stress: Being in or perceiving that you are in an overwhelming situation, can be a source of head pain. Stress is sometimes accompanied by poor posture, difficulty sleeping, poor eating, etc. and these may also be contributing factors.
  • Environment: Second-hand smoke, strong cleaning chemicals, pollution, weather changes, noise, lighting and more may be implicated as headache triggers.
  • Accidents: Car accidents, sports injuries, work injuries and falls can cause direct head trauma, concussion and neck dysfunction. All of these can cause headaches, sometimes arising days later.
  • Lifestyle habits: Your daily habits may be causing or aggravating your headaches. Common factors include skipping meals, food intolerances, alcohol use, smoking, caffeine withdrawal, poor sleep patterns, fatigue and medication side-effects.
  • Genetic factors: Migraines, for example, tend to run in families; the more family members have migraines, the more likely you are to suffer from them too.
  • Underlying conditions: Infections such as sinusitis (sinus infection), otitis (ear infection) and even the common cold can cause headaches. High blood pressure is another example. Though rare, more serious conditions like tumours or bleeding should always be considered.

Types of headaches

Discovering the diagnosis to find a solution

The most recent International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) lists more than 150 different types of headaches. While some of these are rarely seen in the general population, there are some that are relatively common:

Tension headaches

A squeezing feeling all over your head may be originating from tight muscles on your scalp and neck. These are the most commonly encountered of all headaches and are often related to stress and poor posture.


A migraine involves an intense throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. It may be accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to sound and light. Sometimes migraines are preceded by changes in body functions or visual symptoms (“prodrome” and/or “aura”). Migraine headaches often run in the family.

Occipital neuralgia

Pain in the back of the head may be related to a series of occipital nerves originating in the top of the neck. Episodes can last from seconds to minutes and are typically described as sharp, lancinating or electric. Manual techniques aimed at improving muscle and joint mechanics of the upper spine often provide relief.

Sinus or allergy headaches

Allergies or sinus infections can cause sinus pressure and pain around the forehead or cheeks. These headaches may give additional symptoms in your ears, nose and throat.

Cluster headaches

These are related to severely painful attacks that occur in “clusters,” lasting from weeks to months. The pain is often located around one eye and may be accompanied by redness/tearing from the eye and a runny nose among other symptoms.

Post-traumatic headaches

These can develop after any type of head injury or jarring. They are often associated with concussions and resemble tension and migraine headaches.

Hormone headaches

These are related to birth control medication, ovulation or hormone fluctuations around menses. Estrogen changes during pregnancy can also cause this. It is estimated that up to 60% of women who have migraines also experience menstrual migraines.

Spinal headaches

These headaches are experienced following a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) or epidural block. Because the fluid pressure around the spine and brain are impacted, other symptoms such as a stiff neck, dizziness, nausea, etc. may occur.

Cervicogenic headaches

Headaches commonly arise from problematic joints, muscles or nerves in your neck. If your neck feels stiff, you have poor posture or you tend to want to rub or stretch your neck during a headache, the cause may be your neck. Cervicogenic headaches can occur in any part of your head or behind/around your eye(s).

Jaw (TMJ) headaches

Headaches in one or both temples may be related to your jaw. Asymmetrical jaw movements, jaw clicking and teeth clenching during the day or while sleeping are common features of TMJ headaches.

Who should you consult for your headaches?

Choosing the approach that's right for you

There are many approaches to help alleviate headaches. Navigating through who can help you can be confusing. Our recommendations are below…


As previously mentioned, a headache could be a sign of a serious, even life-threating, issue. The most important first step in addressing a headache is to verify whether its cause may be pathological. It is only with a thorough interview and examination that a diagnosis may be made. A doctor such as a physician (MD), medical specialist, dentist (DDS) or chiropractor (DC) is trained to recognize the potential source of your headaches and if special tests are needed. Of course, with a better understanding of your condition, the most appropriate treatments may be considered.


Our skilled clinicians will take a detailed history and perform a complete examination to determine which factors may be causing your headaches. Our practitioners are also trained to recognize important lifestyle factors (such dietary issues, for example) and help you make positive changes. We provide various options that may help alleviate your pain and even eliminate your headaches:

  • Chiropractic: It is well known that headaches related to mechanical issues in the neck and jaw respond well to chiropractic care. Because other types of headaches often have a musculoskeletal component, most headaches may benefit from chiropractic adjustments.
  • Osteopathy: An osteopath uses specific techniques that address the various tissues of the head which may be the source of your headaches.
  • Massage therapy: Especially useful for stress headaches, massage therapy is a great way to help you relax.
  • Functional neurology: If you’ve “tried everything” and are still suffering, this approach may be for you. We take a deep look at your medical history and perform an extensive neurological exam to determine how you may be best helped. To learn more, read our section on Functional neurology.

About consulting us for your headaches

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at the Freud Clinic, you may call us (514-483-3444), email us or book an appointment online.

If you need more information about your specific case:

  • Phone us at 514-483-3444 to speak about your symptoms directly with one of our practitioners.
  • Email us a summary of what you are feeling and who you’ve consulted already, and we will respond with our recommendations.