Brain Freeze And Migraine Sufferers
Dr. Serrador explains that we already know that migraine sufferers are more likely to suffer brain freeze after consuming very cold food or drink, compared with people who never have migraines.
He suggests that some of what occurs during brain freeze may be similar to what causes migraines, and possibly other kinds of headaches, including those caused by traumatic brain injuries.
Serrador and team believe that local changes in brain blood flow may be causing other types of headaches. If this can be confirmed in further studies, new medications that prevent or reverse vasodilation may help treat headaches.
Why Do You Get Brain Freeze When You Drink A Slurpee
The Slurpee, Froster, or ICEE are the true champions of the brain freeze. The Slushee could never equal the ICEE in terms of brain freeze power! All you have to do is suck down an Icee too fast and youre almost guaranteed a satisfying, and yet not so satisfying, cold headache. Whats funny is weve got myths about the greatest brain freeze product ever invented, and weve got myths about the physiological origins of the brain freeze itself. But is it really a cold headache?
Most people realize that it has something to do with all that cold stuff hitting the roof of the mouth. But it doesnt just cause pain in the roof of the mouth. It causes a full-blown skull-exploding headache in the forehead and temple area. How? Here are some explanations. People will repeat one of these to you as if it has been rigorously proven, butnah.
Looking for a more efficient brain-freeze inducer? The Slurpee is your drink of choice, then.
How Do You Avoid Brain Freeze
Dr. Jorge Serrador of Harvard Medical School talked to NBC News about how to avoid brain freeze. And there’s a pretty simple method for getting rid of the painful feeling.
Putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth should do the trick, as it will warm your palate back up. If you can curl your tongue, that’s even better, he told the outlet. So if you can, don’t be afraid to stick the bottom of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
Another simple trick is to eat or drink cold foods more slowly so that you don’t overwhelm your brain with a sudden temperature change.
Next time you enjoy an ice-cold drink or a scoop of ice cream, give these tricks a try. You might be able to stop brain freeze in its tracks, so you can go back to enjoying that tasty treat in peace.
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How Is Brain Freeze Different From Other Headaches
Unlike other headaches, a brain freeze comes and goes quickly. It usually lasts only a few seconds to two minutes. It goes away on its own, without medicine or rest.
Other headaches can cause other symptoms. For example, a migraine can make you feel sick to your stomach . Some headaches can make it hard to tolerate bright light or loud noise. A brain freeze does not cause any other symptoms.
How Do We Prevent Brain Freeze
Now that we know what causes us to freeze up, our goal is to bring more oxygen to the brain to help you think clearer, and to bring yourself into a present state so you remain connected to yourself.
In the podcast, I share a simple breathing exercise you can do to reduce anxiety and create more oxygen flow to the brain. Its called box breathing and it looks like this:
- Breath in slowly for 4 counts
- Hold at the top for 4 counts
- Breath out for 4 counts
- Hold at the bottom for 4 counts
Repeat this 10 times. Make sure you breathe into your diaphragm and NOT your chest.
**Also make sure you check out my podcast How to Answer Q& A Like a Ninja for more techniques on speaking impromptu even if you dont know the answer.
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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!
How Do I Prevent It
The good news is that the typical brain freeze often goes away in less than 30-60 seconds of exposure to the cold.
As fast as a brain freeze may go away, its still preferable to avoid it altogether. Brain freeze is our bodys way of signaling us to slow down. Brain freeze is our bodys way of signaling us to slow down so, it sounds obvious, but we really just need to slow down and savor whatever it is were eating or drinking.
Consuming cold food or drinks slowly will prevent our body from feeling the sudden and scary shock that scares it into thinking something bad might be happening. Besides taking it slow, its also recommended to be mindful of keeping the cold food or drink away from the upper palate to avoid contact with the trigeminal nerve.
Oh, and dont bother reaching for an aspirin or acetaminophen. Research supports that for most people, by the time the medication starts to kick in, the brain freeze will already be over.
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Consuming Something Cold In A Warm Climate
Our bodies go through homeostasis, the mechanism to return a body back to its comfortable condition, often. Brain freeze is another form of homeostasis. Our bodies dont like an extreme change in temperature, ever. In addition to being in a warm environment, our bodies internal homeostatic temperature rests around 98.6. Meaning, you can experience brain freeze in both warm and cool climates. So, when we eat something very cold, our brains and our bodies go into a form of shock, and brain freeze is the immediate response that happens as a means to tell you to stop eating whatever youre eating.
Practice Practice Practice You Are The Presentation
Everyones been there, you have a presentation the next day and are still cobbling something together quickly the day before! Although this works in many cases, everyone still knows its not ideal. And because of this, people often feel more nervous before an appearance, just because they know they are ill prepared.
Tests are no different either, the less you have learned, the more nervous you feel. The same principle applies to the presentation situation and to the stage fright associated with this.
This is why the best measure against stage fright is simply just practice, practice, practice! And keep going until you feel really confident, until what you want to say and do in your presentation is internalized in such a way that it is completely natural to you.
The Michael Bay example is a perfect object lesson here, whereby he couldnt even manage to talk about the simplest topic i.e. about himself! But sometimes you need extreme examples in order to really think about things!
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What Are The Solutions Of A Brain Freeze
If in spite of following the above-mentioned measures you fall prey to a brain freeze then here are some solutions you can try:
- Immediately warm the roof of your mouth by placing the tongue in that area
- Tilt your head to the other side for at least 10 seconds.
- Alternatively, cover your mouth and nose by making a mask with your hands and take quick breaths.
- If all these failed to work out, then place your thumb against the roof of your mouth to warm it up.
Although a brain freeze doesnt demand the care of a medical practitioner if you are experiencing frequent brain freezes then it is better to request the suggestion of a doctor.
And if this all fails, then stop consuming your favorite drinks and smoothies!
Ways To Stop Brain Freeze
Brain Freeze is the intense headache people often get when they eat ice cream, popsicles, milkshakes, frozen drinks and other really cold foods. It is a very sharp, stabbing pain in the forehead and most of us have experienced it at one time or another.
Brain Freeze is caused by the blood vessels above the roof of your mouth responding to prevent a loss of heat in your head and therefore protect your brain. The blood vessels in your head widen to let in more blood . This rapid swelling of the blood vessels, which contain sensitive nerves, is what causes a headache.
At one time it was thought that this phenomenon happened only in hot weather, but in fact, it can happen in any temperature. Its the temperature of the food that you are eating that causes the effect.
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The Scoop On Ice Cream Headache
What causes ice cream headaches? Nothing serious, says Wojtek Mydlarz, assistant professor of otolaryngologyhead and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins. He explains:
There are several theories about what makes this happen. The one that probably makes the most sense is that when you eat or drink a large quantity of very cold food or liquid, you drop the temperature of the palate pretty substantially. The blood vessels automatically constrictits a survival reflex to maintain your bodys core temperature.
After the squeeze, Mydlarz says, the blood vessels open up quickly. This rebound dilation sends a pain signal to the brain through a nerve called the trigeminal nerve, whose upper branch extends into the midface and forehead, he says.
Mydlarz says ice cream headache is an example of referred pain when changes happening in one part of the body signal pain in another. In this case, the tiny muscles around the blood vessels in the palate are tightening and relaxing suddenly, but the sensation is experienced higher up in the head
Give Up All Frozen Treats
The only sure way to prevent ever getting another brain freeze in your entire life is to give up eating the tasty treats you have grown up with. You can try whatever you want to stop the insane headache but it will eventually happen again. We are saying this is the best way to not get an ice cream headache, but we know you wont listen because were not taking our own advice either!
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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.
Why Do We Freeze Up In The First Place
There is a part of the brain called the periaqueductal grey , which is responsible for dictating how we respond to perceived danger. The PAG receives various inputs about potential threats and triggers an automatic reflexive response that can cause us to either freeze in place, give us the bloodflow to run away , or the adrenaline rush to fight.
When we stand up to speak, our primal croc brain is the first to react. This is the part of our brain that is responsible for primal urges such as keeping us safe. And of course, it thinks we are in grave danger. Oh no! it thinks. Dont mess up! They will see youre no good at your job! Which means youll be rejected from the tribe! Which means youll be cast out into the dark to be eaten by bears!
So, the PAG responds to the croc brain, and one of the responses is for us to freeze in place. It also starts to pump blood to areas required to fight or run away, like our arms and legs. We also start to breath shorter breaths, and even hold our breath.
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Brain Freeze And Atrial Fibrillation
Itâs very rare, but scientists think cold foods and drinks may sometimes bring on AFib, which is when your heart rate suddenly gets out of rhythm or is âfluttery.â Itâs thought that your nervous system may be affected by the cold and trigger this reaction.
Causes Of Brain Freeze
Scientists arent exactly sure what specifically causes brain freeze. One 2012study tried to figure out the cause by measuring the blood flow and activity in the brain while participants drank ice water.
The researchers theory was that when the brain is cooled rapidly as a result of ingesting extremely cold food or liquids, it changes the blood flow in the brain. The cold is transferred from the roof of your mouth to the nerves of the brain, and this causes some kind of reaction in the brain.
The researchers used a Doppler, which measures blood flow, to look at the blood vessels in the middle and front brain arteries in 13 adults while they drank both ice water and room-temperature water.
The participants drank ice water through a straw placed against the roof of their mouth until they felt a brain freeze. The researchers then measured the brain resistance, heart rate, and blood pressure of these participants before, during, and after the brain freeze.
They found that drinking the ice water increased the blood flow in the front brain arteries, but not the middle blood vessels. The ice water also caused increased resistance in the brain.
With these findings, the researchers concluded that the pain of a brain freeze is actually caused by the increased blood flow and resistance in the brain blood vessels. So if youre experiencing a brain freeze, you might actually be feeling your brains blood vessels reacting to the cold.
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How To Avoid Ice Cream Headaches
As summer approaches, I could write about ways to avoid heat exhaustion, protecting yourself from the damaging rays of the sun or a plethora of other super-important potentially life-saving info. But thats not what Im gonna do. Im going to get down to the REALLY important stuff. Life-altering tips for avoiding the pain and anguish of
Yup. Thats some weighty stuff. But, lets face it, it FEELS life threatening when you have it. And weve all been there. Even talking about it makes me squint my eyes and cringe.
When I came across this article, with its great information about WHY we get ice cream headaches and tips on how to avoid them, I decided I had to share this vital info. The tip to avoid it eat ice cream more slowly did not seem practical or attainable to me, but perhaps you are more disciplined than I. Thankfully, it also provides tips on how to fix brain freeze once youve inevitably gotten it because you DIDNT eat slowly.
My personal Brain Freeze treatment technique is similar to the technique below. It includes not just putting your tongue against the roof of your mouth to warm it, but also rubbing it to create more friction and swearing loudly. For safety, I always use the International Sign for Brain Freeze moaning loudly while clutching your head so that others know whats happening. What I didnt know to do, was the head tipping thing. You can bet that will be part of my repertoire going forward. What is your method of dealing with brain freeze?
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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What Is A Brain Freeze
Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia!, have you ever heard someone yelling out this name after sipping a cold drink or gulping a cold beverage or an ice cream? We guess not, but you must have heard someone screaming brain freeze!. So, what is a brain freeze? What are these headaches caused when you eat ice cream of all things? A brain freeze is a sudden pain or sensation in the brain that gets to its peak within seconds and becomes intolerable.
A brain freeze happens when a frozen beverage comes in contact with the roof of your mouth. Thus, as a result, an unexpected temperature change happens within the mouth, in the tissues stimulating the nerves, resulting in fast dilation causing swelling in the capillaries. This reaction tries to direct blood to the affected area and warm it back again. The headache that follows up begins from the receptors present in your mouth, which signals your brain with the help of the nerves in your face. This ends in causing an immediate, very sharp pain with a typical exclamation that remains similar to this incident. So this is what causes a brain freeze to occur.
A brain freeze, also known as an ice cream headache, can last anywhere between a fraction of seconds to a few minutes. No matter whether its summer, rainy, autumn, or winter, brain freeze can happen to you very frequently because it occurs in response to the food consumed and not to the temperature outside.