Thursday, May 19, 2022

Why Do Brain Freezes Hurt

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Brain Freeze And Migraine

Why Does a Brainfreeze Hurt So Much?

While ice cream headaches can hit anyone who enjoys an icy-cold treat, you might be more likely to have them — or they might be worse — if you tend to get migraines. But brain freeze is generally thought to be harmless, so that triple-scoop cone wonât trigger a migraine or any other type of serious headache.

Drink A Drink Thats Warmer Than Your Cold Food Or Drink

Just like your brain didnt appreciate you quickly changing your temperature by eating or drinking an extremely cold food or drink, it wont love it if you drink a piping hot drink either. So, drink a room temperature drink to will help warm up the top of your palate but not make your body go into shock.

Keep Your Drink In The Front Of Your Mouth For A While Before You Swallow

As weird as this sounds, this will actually warm up your drink and not hit your palate when its at its coldest temperature. If you really want to enjoy the flavor of your cold drink but cant endure the pain you get from brain freeze, this is a perfect preventative measure for you!

All in all, the biggest takeaway is that brain freeze is an extremely unpleasant and painful sensation for those of us who experience it. Luckily, even without these strategies, brain freeze doesnt often last more than a minute. But, using a different plan of action to avoid brain freeze will help extremely. Especially since those of us that experience brain freeze, myself included, also experience migraines. Although migraines are much worse and theres medication to help with that issue, there is no reason for anyone to experience brain freeze! Our bodies are extremely smart and evolutionarily adaptive for having brain freeze, but every logical person knows they shouldnt be drinking something that is really cold too fast. Check out more things that can be migraine triggers.

So, just think about the pain you will inevitably experience when drinking a cold drink and use these tactics to make your life less difficult! Now that youve got the best tips, youre ready for the summer. Enjoy! Feel free to leave a comment below.


Blatt MM, Falvo M, Jasien J, et al. Cerebral vascular blood flow changes duringbrain freeze FASEB Journal. 2012 26:685.4

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An Unexpected Link Between Brain Freeze And Migraines

The sphenopalatine ganglion is a group of nerves responsible for painful migraines and cluster headaches.

These nerves are also sensitive to cold and can trigger brain freeze.

According to the Mayo Clinic, people who have suffered a head injury or have migraine headaches are more prone to cold-stimulus headaches.

But some research indicates that the opposite may be true, that migraine sufferers are less likely to experience brain freeze.

Oddly, some people with migraines find that eating ice cream can make a headache go away.

Researchers hope that learning more about this relationship between migraines and brain freeze might lead to a cure for migraine headaches.

Theres an interesting side note on how cold-induced headaches might help researchers find a migraine cure.

Migraines have always been difficult to study since the onset of a headache is unpredictable.

But now, researchers can replicate a short-lived migraine in study participants on demand by inducing brain freeze.

I cant imagine too many people signing up for that!

Can You Fight It

Why Do Brain Freezes Hurt So Bad

As we have mentioned, this type of a headache due to cold stimuli is temporary and not serious enough to deprive you of your daily activities. Therefore, the normal thing to do is to wait until it disappears on its own. However, if the pain is very intense and difficult to cope with, you can drink warm water. This will help mitigate the cold sensation of the palate, so the intensity and duration of pain will decrease.

You can also try to make pressurewith the tongue or with the tip of a fingeron the highest part of the palate, with the intention of heating the nerves in a function similar to that of warm water. The pain is more likely to disappear before you know it.

Obviously, the easiest way to avoid this phenomenon is to rule out the consumption of frozen foods and beverages. But, lets be honest, in the summer this option is not ideal or realistic. However, to avoid this annoying headache, you can eat ice cream very slowly, especially at the beginning. So that the nerves of the palate get used to the cold. Therefore the results will not be as abrupt and painful on the nerves.

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Why Does My Heart Hurt When I Get A Brain Freeze

You responded that swallowing big bites of very cold food may cause chest freeze. You further stated that brain/chest freeze results from vessels rapidly constricting and dilating, causing certain nerves to send confusing pain signals to the brain and that the brain interprets the message

In respect to this, can a brain freeze kill you?

When the cold stimulus is removed, the blood vessels go back to their normal size and the pain tends to go away, Goldberg said. Despite being called “brain freeze,” this brief episode of head pain doesn’t cause permanent damage and isn’t life-threatening.

Also, how do I get rid of a chest freeze? There’s an easier way. Instead of unplugging, remove the food from the freezer and scrape off patches of ice with a putty knife. You can get putty knives at most home improvement stores. They are inexpensive and will scrape off ice in large chunks so that the ice can easily be removed and plopped in a bucket.

Moreover, is a brain freeze dangerous to your health?

“It’s a very technical term.” Although there’s no published paper saying as much, a milkshake slurped too quickly probably does not actually lower brain temperature. Besides, Gray says, the temporary pain can’t do any harm because it has nothing to do with the brain.

Why do I get brain freeze so easily?

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What Exactly Is Brain Freeze

No, your brain doesn’t 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.

By itself, brain freeze is harmless, and the phenomenon isn’t associated with any worrisome neurological conditions. However, it is linked to migraines. People who suffer from migraines tend to be more prone to brain freeze, says Dr. Natbony, because the same nerves in the palate are responsible for triggering both types of head pain.

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What Is The Thunderclap Headache

Overview. Thunderclap headaches live up to their name, striking suddenly like a clap of thunder. The pain of these severe headaches peaks within 60 seconds. Thunderclap headaches are uncommon, but they can warn of potentially life-threatening conditions usually having to do with bleeding in and around the brain.

Pain In The Brain Means Stop

Why Does Ice Cream Hurt My Head?

Some scientists believe the trigeminal nerve responds to these events in your throat and mouth by sending a pain signal to the front of your brain. Whether the nerve is specifically responding to the cold or a sudden reduction of blood and oxygen supply to the brain or both is unclear.

Other scientists believe the pain is caused by a rush of blood to the front of your head. Shortly after the vessels in your throat and mouth shrink from the cold, these same vessels immediately expand. By expanding, additional blood and oxygen flood these areas. Although this blood rush might provide your brain with desperately needed blood and oxygen, it also might increase the amount of pressure in your head, causing pain.

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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.

How Does Brain Freeze Work

You take a bite of your creamy, delicious ice cream as you sit in the warm sun. It melts on your tongue, so you take another bite. Then another.

However, you end up eating your ice cream too quickly, and you soon find yourself having an ice cream headache. Your head feels dizzy, and youre having a hard time feeling your tongue.

Brain freeze happens to everyone, but whats the science behind it? Heres why you get brain freeze headaches whenever you quickly eat ice cream, popsicles, slushies, and cold drinks.

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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.

Why Do People Get Brain Freeze

Why does ice cream give you brain freeze?
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    Jacki Lyden gets to the root of the ice cream headache with Dr. Jason Rosenberg, director of the Johns Hopkins Headache Center. Its caused by irritation to a very specific set of nerves, he says.

    JACKI LYDEN, host:

    Its hot outside. Youre going to be walking down the street. Youre going to see an ice cream truck.

    Mr. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN : Youre going to treat yourself to a vanilla ice cream. Youre going to eat it too fast. Youre going to get an ice cream headache.

    Mr. WALKEN: Its going to hurt real bad. Right here for eight, nine seconds.

    LYDEN: Christopher Walken playing the trivial psychic on Saturday Night Live and riffing his own performance in The Dead Zone that great 1983 movie.

    Now, an ice cream headache may be trivial but it got us thinking why do we get them at all? The truth behind the brain freeze on this weeks Science Out of the Icebox.

    LYDEN: With us now is the director of the Johns Hopkins Headache Center, Dr. Jason Rosenberg, and he joins us from WYPR in Baltimore. Welcome to the show.

    Doctor JASON ROSENBERG : Thank you for having me here, Jacki. I appreciate it.

    LYDEN: Well, I hope you appreciate the careful research we did into this phenomenon.

    Dr. ROSENBERG: Yes. Christopher Walken actually summarized ice cream headache very nicely there.

    So, its one these quirky wiring problems of the nervous system that mislocalizes pain.

    LYDEN: So, are certain people more susceptible?

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    Are Brain Freezes Genetic

    A study from the Journal of Neurology suggests brain freezes could actually be hereditary. Ice cream headaches were even recently added to the International Classification of Headache Disorders, after the study showed people with a family history of migraines, had an increased risk of brain freezes.

    Why Do You Get It

    Brain freeze, also called an “ice-cream headache,” is known in medical terms as a “cold-stimulus headache,” Goldberg said. It’s a common phenomenon that affects people of all ages, but doctors aren’t quite sure why it happens.

    For this type of headache, the main trigger is any kind of exposure to a significantly cold temperature, Goldberg said. It’s not only caused by an internal trigger, like eating frozen treats too quickly it can also be caused by an external trigger, such as going outside without a hat on a frigid day or diving into a very cold lake.

    Brain freeze may start when a very cold substance food or air, for example hits the roof of the mouth or the back of the throat and stimulates blood vessels and nerves in these temperature-sensitive areas.

    A small study presented in 2012 found that the sudden increase in blood flow and resulting increase in size of the anterior cerebral artery, a blood vessel located in the middle of the brain behind the eyes, may be responsible for brain freeze pain. The study found that when patients’ brain freeze ended, the artery constricted and reduced blood flow, which is likely what caused the pain to disappear. The researchers said they suspect that an increase in pressure within the skull, brought on by increased blood flow to the head, is what causes the pain.

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    Ways To Stop Brain Freeze In Its Tracks:

  • Press your tongue against the roof of the mouth to warm the area.
  • Tilt your head back for about 10 seconds.
  • Drink a liquid that is warmer than the cold substance that caused the headache.
  • Take small bites or sips and let them warm on your tongue before they touch the roof of your mouth.
  • Make a mask with your hands and cover your mouth and nose breathe quickly.
  • Press your thumb against the roof of your mouth.
  • Since Brain Freeze starts after you swallow, you can actually prevent it by holding the cold substance against the roof of your mouth before you swallow. But this technique seems so illogical most people wont even try it!
  • Give up all frozen treats .
  • So, next time you reach for that Frozen Daiquiri, remember these 7 ways to prevent Brain Freeze, and enjoy!

    DISCLAIMER: The advice I offer in response to your questions is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. Namely, I am in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. My intent is solely educational and my responses to your actual questions serve as springboard to discussion of a variety of dental topics that come up in day-to-day dental practice. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.

    How Do I Prevent It

    Ask Dr. Soria: Does “brain freeze” cause damage or just hurt?

    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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    Should I Seek Medical Attention For Brain Freeze

    You dont need medical attention for a brain freeze. But if you get frequent headaches that last a while, talk to your healthcare provider.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    A brain freeze can be painful, but its not serious and goes away on its own quickly. You can prevent ice cream headaches by avoiding very cold foods, drinks and freezing air. If you get a brain freeze, try pressing your thumb or tongue against the roof of your mouth. Or drink something warm or room temperature.

    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.

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