Thursday, May 12, 2022

Does Everyone Get Brain Freeze

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The Science Behind Brain Freeze

Why Do I Get Brain Freeze? – Ask Anything

Believe it or not, scientists arent 100% certain what causes brain freeze however, because so many people experience these ice cream headaches, its been a topic of discussion in the medical community.

According to Medical News Today, scientists believe brain freeze headaches are caused by the rapid constriction of blood vessels in the palette. This happens because your capillaries, which are branches of blood vessels, are narrowed when exposed to colder foods.

When your capillaries narrow, the amount of blood flowing to your brain changes, thus causing a headache. That means your brain freeze headache is a result of the change in blood flow.

When your palette is warmed, you stop having a brain freeze headache because your capillaries expand. Its believed that the fast-paced changes cause your blood vessels to widen and your nerves to react.

What Is Brain Freeze

Brain freeze is a type of headache triggered by the consumption of very cold foods or drinks.

Its also called a cold headache or an ice cream headache since eating ice cream is a common trigger, but it can even be caused by drinking ice water.

Cold-stimulus headache is a recognized medical condition listed in the most recent edition of The International Classification of Headache Disorders.

Sometimes its called a trigeminal headache referring to the trigeminal nerve, the largest nerve in your brain.

Its scientific name is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia which literally means pain of the nerve located on the roof of your mouth.

A brain freeze headache can be extremely painful, but fortunately is short-lived, usually lasting less than 10 seconds and rarely lasting more than 30 seconds.

How Can I Get Rid Of It

Brain freeze is temporary and not exactly something serious enough to take a sick day for, so it’s perfectly okay to just wait it out. But if it’s super intense, or you just don’t want to deal with the buzzkill, there are solutions. Dr. MacGregor suggests drinking warm water slowly as you sense brain freeze coming on the warm water will mitigate the cold sensation in your palate, and your head shouldn’t throb as intensely or for quite as long.

Another quick brain freeze fix is to press your tongue or the tip of your finger against the roof of your palate, which will warm up the nerves there similar to the way warm water can. While Dr. Natbony says that no science backs up this trick, it can’t hurt to give it a try. “If you introduce warmth during the brain freeze, it seems like that should work,” she says.

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Can You Faint From A Brain Freeze

And if youve had that sudden, acute brain freeze sensation, you know that the pain is impossible to ignore. If you didnt stop, the blood vessels containing the cold blood can be constricted so that they do not make up as much of the circulation. As a last resort, you pass out and drop the ice cream cone.

Treatment For Brain Freeze

Why Do We Get Brain Freeze?

The cure for brain freeze is actually very simple, and something you can do on your own. The moment you start to experience a brain freeze, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

The heat from your tongue will transfer heat and energy to your sinuses behind your nose, which will then warm the nerve bundles that cause brain freeze. Keep your tongue firmly against the roof of your mouth until you feel the pain start to dissipate.

You can keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth for as long as it takes for the brain freeze to completely disappear.

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Is Freeze Merely An Extension Of Surprise

Surprise is the emotion we feel when an unexpected event occurs, and we need to stop and process the scene in order to decide whether to fight or flee. The facial expression of surprise serves a functional purpose: our eyes widen to improve our peripheral vision to better process our surroundings, and we open our mouth and gasp in preparation to scream and/or run.

People also come to a standstill when surprised, as they devote all their energy to deciding whether what is unfolding before them is a threat, a joke, a harmless incident.

Often bystanders cop flak for not immediately intervening during an unexpected event such as an assault but typically people are so shocked they remain rooted to the spot. In some cases a freeze response is more an extension of a surprise response.

How To Prevent It

The pain of brain freeze is so fleeting that there’s no need to treat it, but it can be tricky to avoid, Goldberg said. Of course, people could forgo frozen treats and beverages altogether, but what fun is that?

If you’re prone to this harmless headache, the best way to prevent it is to slow down when consuming ice-cold foods and drinks and keep the cold substances away from your upper palate.

Some people say that drinking warm water slowly once the pain begins may help short-circuit the symptoms of brain freeze. Others recommend curling the underside of the tongue against the roof of the mouth, which can bring warmth to this sensitive spot.

Additional resources:

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Can You Get Brain Freeze Without Eating Something Cold

Summer is finally here. Its time for ice-cream! YAYYYY.Woops I got carried away and ate mine too quickly. Now I have a brain freeze! Holdon, why is my brain suddenly in pain if there are no pain receptors in thebrain itself? Keep reading to find out what is brain freeze, why does it happen and how can we avoid it?

What Causes A Brain Freeze

Why do You Get a Brain Freeze?

Although brain freezes are mostly attributed to eating frozen desserts, they can happen anytime the SPG nerve experiences sudden, onset cold. That means that you can get a brain freeze due to cold water, stepping outside in winter, or abruptly getting blasted by the air conditioner in your office.

Although the cause is often debated, most medical professionals believe that brain freezes are induced when the roof of the mouth or back of the throat experience a sudden cold substance. The onset of cold causes the blood vessels to constrict, which then triggers the pain receptors. The receptors then notify the nerve cluster, which then moves the pain message to the brain. That is when the referred pain kicks in, producing that acute pain most people experience at some point in their lives.

There is bad news for migraine-sufferers: if you experience migraines, you are more likely to suffer from brain freezes.

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Why Do We Get Brain Freeze The Truth Behind Your Ice Cream Headache

Fact checked by Kidadl Team

Everybody enjoys eating something or the other but almost all people like eating ice-cold ice cream on a hot day.

What happens when the ice cream is too cold and hits you right in the head immediately after eating? This can result in one of the most painful headaches, a brain freeze!

Brain freeze is known as a referred pain where tiny muscles around blood vessels constrict and relax suddenly. On a hot summer day, what hits the most is an appetizing frozen drink or an ice cream instead. If you eat that icy delicacy too fast, you could feel terrible ice cream headaches. The biological name of brain freeze is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, popularly known as ice cream headache is a cold stimulus pain in your head or forehead.

What causes brain freeze? The reason for such terrible pain can be a sudden rush of blood in your nerves. The intensity of the pain in the head generally begins within seconds and can rapidly reach an extreme point of intolerance, mostly within fractions of seconds. If you are interested in more such fun facts, you must check out why do people pass out on rides? Andwhy do people breathe into paper bags?

How Long Does Brain Freeze Last And How To Treat It

Unlike migraines and other types of headaches, brain freeze pain will usually dissipate in 30 seconds or less, says McLauchlin. But it can last up to a couple of minutes.

The way to treat brain freeze is to stop or slow down the consumption of whatever is triggering the pain.

It only lasts as long as it takes for the blood to warm back up. And so the faster the blood warms up, the shorter it lasts, says McLauchlin.

If you want it to go away even quicker, you can have a warm drink if you have one handy.

Once the brain freeze dissipates, you can get back to enjoying your food or beverage more slowly this time.

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Breaking The Ice Around Brain Freeze

While there is a trick to quickly subside a brain freeze, the easiest way is to avoid it all together. That starts by slowing down how much cold food you’re shoveling into your mouth. And don’t inhale. Rather, keep your food in the front of your mouth because the further back it gets, the more lidkely you are to freeze your SPG.

But if you do end up finding yourself on the edge of a brain freeze, stay focused and press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The heat will help neutralize the cold by warming up the sinuses and the ganglion.

The good news is that the brain freezes, while painful, aren’t dangerous. Whew! You didn’t accidentally cause long-term brain damage to yourself as a kid. So, don’t worry! You’re not going to die from a brain freeze, but it may temporarily paralyze you.

So this summer, before you chow down on that double scoop of vanilla cone, remind yourself to slow down. Your brain will thank you for it.

What Exactly Is Brain Freeze

Brain Freeze

No, your brain doesnt actually become frozen. Brain freeze happens when a cold substance, like ice cream, is introduced behind the nose and palate, Lauren Natbony, MD, a neurologist at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, tells Health. When the bundle of nerves in this part of the mouth sense something cold, they send an instant message to the brain, causing arteries and blood vessels to react. As a result, your head starts to throb.

The pain comes on soon after something cold has touched the palate and is typically referred to the forehead, says Anne MacGregor, MD, a headache specialist at the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in the UK. The ache comes on fast, just as the cold temperature of your ice cream or drink hits those nerves. It lasts just few seconds but sometimes minutes, before fading away, says Dr. MacGregor.

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Why Are Brain Freezes So Painful

The unexpected pain of a cold-stimulus headache prompts most people to freeze up and hold their head in agony. It certainly seems excessive to get a brain freeze when you eat something as delicious as ice cream too fast. Although the fleeting nature of the brain freeze makes it challenging to study, medical experts have been able to link the SPG to other types of headaches.

Scientists still do not know precisely what causes the headache, however. Some studies suggest it is due to an artery in the front of the brain dilating, thus causing the brain to pinpoint the pain there. Others believe it is due to the irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which is the nerve that causes idiopathic stabbing headaches. Whatever the case, there seems to be a relationship between what induces many headaches and what causes brain freezes. The link between migraines and brain freezes are likely why they are so painful.

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Also Known As An Ice Cream Headache Doctors Say The Condition Is Harmless But It Does Hurt

Who hasnt had a delicious milkshake, Popsicle or ice cream cone interrupted by the summertime curse known as a brain freeze? The pain starts on the roof of your mouth and within an instant feels like lightning bolts bouncing inside your skull. Then poof! A few seconds later, the discomfort disappears.

Just because the pain caused by a brain freeze, or ice cream headache, is fleeting doesnt mean its any less real. In fact, doctors have an official name for the unpleasant condition sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia but good luck pronouncing it .

So, whats going on inside your head during a brain freeze?

You can think of it almost like a cramp, says Wojtek Mydlarz, director of head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine. When you move too quickly, you might get a little strain or sharp pain.

Similarly, when we eat too much ice cream too fast, it surprises your body.

Youre shocking your system. Youre shocking your throat, your palate and your tongue from the cold, especially when its hot outside, says Mydlarz.

In response to the coldness, blood vessels in the roof of your mouth tighten while something known as the trigeminal nerve sends a message to your brain saying that the body needs to turn up the thermostat. The brain responds by sending warm blood to your mouth, loosening the blood vessels there.

When your body recovers from the cold exposure and tightening of blood vessels, thats when you get that very sharp headache, says Mydlarz.

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What Is A Brain Freeze

Simply put, a brain freeze, otherwise known as a cold-stimulus headache, is when your brain reacts to something cold you eat or drink. The scientific term is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, which translates to the pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion . In case you cant say that tongue twister, just know its when the cluster of nerves located in the back of your mouth towards your throat experiences sudden cold.

When sudden frostiness hits this cluster of nerves, they send a signal to your brain which then reacts by activating the pain receptors in an attempt to get you to stop. Even though the cause of pain is in your mouth, the brain doesnt always do a great job at being precise. That is why you experience pain in the middle of your forehead instead of inside your mouth. Doctors will often call this type of pain referred pain. The result is a sudden, icepick-like pain in your forehead that tends to stop most people in their tracks.

Public Speaking Anxiety And Fear Of Brain Freezes

Good Question: What causes brain freeze

The fear of public speaking is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders, or heights. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia, affects about 73% of the population. The underlying fear is judgment or negative evaluation by others. Public speaking anxiety is considered a social anxiety disorder.

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Why Do Brain Freezes Happen

While the pain typically only lasts about 30 seconds, brain freeze is actually a type of headache, believe it or not.

Theories abound as to whats happening during a cold-stimulus headache, which is more colloquially called an ice-cream headache. One of the leading theories surrounding brain freeze involves how your blood vessels and nerves react to rapid shifts in temperature.

When you take a big sip of your slushie, the roof and back of your mouth go from their usual temperatures to ones that are much, much colder. In an effort to warm your mouth back up, your brain sends blood and plenty of it. This rush of blood requires blood vessels in the surrounding area to rapidly expand, which, in turn, initiates signals of pain. But why do you ultimately feel the pain in your forehead and not your mouth?

Its thought that one of the most complex nerves in your brain, the trigeminal nerve, gets triggered during a brain freeze. Among other things, your trigeminal nerve controls sensation in your face. When this nerve is triggered during a brain freeze, a phenomenon called referred pain occurs where the place you feel the pain isnt actually where the pain signal originated. In this case, although its still unclear why, your trigeminal nerve reads the pain as originating from your forehead and temples instead of your mouth.

Prevent Brain Freeze Next Time You Eat Or Drink

Of course, the easiest way to keep brain freeze from striking is to avoid consuming ice-cold food and beverages, says Dr. MacGregor. But in the summer, or on a sunny warm vacation, that’s not all that realisticor fun.

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So prevent brain freeze from happening in the first place by eating your ice cream very slowly, especially during that initial bite or lick, so the nerves in your palate aren’t overwhelmed with the cold sensation. Or try eating cold food toward the front of your mouth, which helps you avoid the sensitive nerve endings toward the back that trigger brain freeze, suggests Dr. Natbony.

If none of these solutions help, Dr. Natbony also advises that you heat your cold food to a warmer temperature before putting it in your mouth. So if you can handle a soupy, warm pint of rocky road, stick your bowl in the microwave for a couple of seconds before devouring it.

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Having Something Cold Touch The Top Of Your Palate

As explained before, our brains cant actually feel pain. What can feel pain, however, are our cranial nerves or nerves in general. It is believed that there are nerves connected to the roofs of our mouths that when cold touches them, the natural nerve response is the swelling and shrinking of blood vessels. As you could imagine, when something swells and shrinks this can cause a form of pain that mimics the pain that people feel when they have a throbbing headache.

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Stand By A Refrigerator Or Something Else Thats Cold Before Eating Or Drinking


As it was mentioned earlier, people are more likely to experience a brain freeze when they are in a warm climate. So, if your body is as cold as the drink youre drinking, youre a little less likely to get the brain freeze that you would on a beach. Although this is not always the most practical solution, it is another one!

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