Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Why Do Some People Not Get Brain Freeze

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How Long Does Brain Freeze Last And How To Treat It

Why Do We Get Brain Freeze?

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.

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.

How Can We Prevent Brain Freeze And Eat Ice Cream In Peace

For a typical brain freeze, it will go away in less than 30 seconds or so, professional care is not needed. You can either wait a few seconds for it to clear up on its own or push your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Your tongue will help re-regulate your mouth to be warmer, advises Dr. Krel.

Its the brains job to control the temperature of your body, so brain freeze is essentially your brains way of signaling to slow down, adds Dr. Krel. If you experience brain freeze often, try eating a little slower or have warm water on standby to drink.

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What Happens When You Get A Brain Freeze

Summer is right around the corner and as cold treats like ice cream, popsicles and slushies tease our taste buds, so too does dreaded brain freeze. That moment when your mind turns into a glacier from eating something cold, WAY too fast. It’s a right of summer passage, an experience that all ages have likely experienced as the weather heats up and the eats cool down.

But what is brain freeze? How does it happen? And more importantly, how can you stop it?

Having Something Cold Touch The Top Of Your Palate

Why Do Some People Get Headache After Eating Ice Cream ...

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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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 We Get Brain Freeze

The intense summer heat that makes you want to eat ice cream or drink a very cold iced drink can sometimes lead to a severe but fleeting headache known as a frozen brain or brain freeze.

No, the brain does not really freeze. It is simply a sensation that occurs when a cold substance is introduced into a stable body of heat. The medical term for the frozen brain is neuralgia of the sphenopalatine ganglion. This is a group of nerves that are sensitive to cold foods. And when stimulated, information is transmitted and the pain part of the brain gets activated. They are the same nerves responsible for the most common headaches and migraines.

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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.

How Is Brain Freeze Different From Other Headaches

Why You Get Brain Freeze

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.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Dreaded Brain Freeze

Everything You Need to Know About the Dreaded Brain Freeze

The day was as perfect as a childhood summer day could be.

All your friends joined you at the local watering hole, you played board games with your family and cooked burgers to enjoy as the sky turned from dusty pink to night blue. The only thing that could make the day better was to top it off with your favorite flavor of ice cream, slowly melting down the side of your ice cream cone.

As you try to eat the ice cream before it melts, the day suddenly turns for the worse. The pain hits you square in the head as you keel over in pain. It feels as though your brain is splitting in two and all you can do is grasp your forehead in an attempt to relieve the pain. As you come back from the depths of despair, you find everyone laughing thats when you hear the words brain freeze for the first time.

So, what is a brain freeze? Why does it seem to happen when eating delicious frozen treats? We researched these pressing questions and more to help your summer stay sunny.

Fun Facts About Brain Freeze

Here are some interesting facts you can use to impress your friends the next time they get a brain freeze.

Instead of laughing at them.

Brain Freeze Fact #1

Not everyone experiences ice cream headaches.

Its estimated that only about 30% of ice cream eaters experience them.

Brain Freeze Fact #2

The pain of a cold headache does not actually occur in your brain because your brain has no pain receptors.

Brain Freeze Fact #3

The Slurpee was invented by the convenience store chain 7-Eleven.

While they did not coin the term brain freeze, they did get a trademark for it.

Brain Freeze Fact #4

Anecdotally, the worst food for causing brain freeze is a Slurpee or similar frozen drink.

A budding young scientist wanted to know for sure which causes the worse brain freeze, Slurpees or ice cream.

So, he made finding out his California State Science Fair project.

He found that a Slurpee-induced headache starts sooner, lasts longer, and is more intense than an ice cream-induced headache.

Brain Freeze Fact #5

A brain freeze does not freeze your brain cells.

But if they ever did freeze, they would be ruptured by ice crystals and turn to mush.

Brain Freeze Fact #6

Frozen foods and drinks wont change the temperature of your brain.

But neurosurgeons often cool the brain substantially during brain surgery.

This stops blood circulation to and within the brain, allowing surgeons to operate more easily.

Brain Freeze Fact #7

This applies to cats as well.

Brain Freeze Fact #8

Watch the Video

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What Causes Brain Freeze

Regina Krel, M.D. contributes to topics such as Neurology.

Its a hot summer day and youre cooling down with an ice pop when it hits you, that cold burn brain freeze. Time seems to stand still and that sweet mango pop went from a delicious treat to a searing headache, but why?

We connected with Regina Krel, M.D., director of the Headache Center at Hackensack University Medical Center to figure out how and why an icy treat can cause this unexpected pain.

Why Are Brain Freezes So Painful

Why Do Some People Live to 100?

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

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.

Neuroscientists Explain How The Sensation Of Brain Freeze Works

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Brain freeze is practically a rite of summer. It happens when you eat ice cream or gulp something ice cold too quickly. The scientific term is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, but thats a mouthful. Brain freeze is your bodys way of putting on the brakes, telling you to slow down and take it easy.

Brain freeze is practically a rite of summer. It happens when you eat ice cream or gulp something ice cold too quickly. The scientific term is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, but thats a mouthful. Brain freeze is your bodys way of putting on the brakes, telling you to slow down and take it easy. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center neuroscientist Dwayne Godwin, Ph.D., explains how it works.

Brain freeze is really a type of headache that is rapid in onset, but rapidly resolved as well, he said. Our mouths are highly vascularized, including the tongue thats why we take our temperatures there. But drinking a cold beverage fast doesnt give the mouth time to absorb the cold very well.

Heres how it happens: When you slurp a really cold drink or eat ice cream too fast you are rapidly changing the temperature in the back of the throat at the juncture of the internal carotoid artery, which feeds blood to the brain, and the anterior cerebral artery, which is where brain tissue starts.

One thing the brain doesnt like is for things to change, and brain freeze is a mechanism to prevent you from doing that, Godwin said.

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What You Need To Know About The Freeze Response

Youve probably heard of the fight or flight response. This is how your body reacts to danger to help you survive. Your heart beats faster. Your lungs take in more oxygen. Your muscles become tense so youre ready to spring into action. This is all to get you ready to either fight back or run away from the danger.

All of this is done automatically, outside of your control.

But calling our stress response system fight or flight actually leaves out a third, just as common and normal response to danger: freeze.

What is the freeze response?

Just like fight or flight, freezing is an automatic, involuntary response to a threat. In a split second, the brain decides that freezing is the best way to survive whats happening. Sometimes when they freeze, people dissociate and feel like theyre watching themselves from outside their own body. Or, their body may go rigid or limp, so they cant move.

When someone freezes, their body is trying to protect them. Freezing is an evolutionary survival tactic, similar to when an animal plays dead. Its not a conscious , but something out of anyones control. It doesnt matter if youre trained in self-defense, or bigger or stronger than your attacker. Anyone can freeze.

Why does it matter?

When they blame themselves, victims are often less likely to talk about their experience, which makes it less likely that theyll get the help and support they need.

So what does this have to do with me?

When To See A Doctor

What Really Happens During A Brain Freeze

As previously mentioned, brain freeze usually goes away pretty quickly, but severe headaches can be a sign of something more serious. If youre experiencing what some refer to as, the worst headache youve ever head, vision loss, dizziness, difficulty moving or speaking, seek immediate emergency care.

My rule of thumb is if youre experiencing headaches and taking pain medication multiple times a week, or its interfering with your quality of life consult with a headache medicine specialist. You dont have to live in pain. A trained neurologist will seek to pinpoint the cause of your headache, and find a proper treatment plan to get the pain under control, Dr. Krel shares.

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Tilt Your Head Back For At Least 10 Seconds

This trick does not consistently work for everyone, but for some people, its a great strategy! A change in your blood flow around your brain area can often help with the fast alleviation of discomfort. This strategy is less embarrassing to do in public so you may want to see if this is a good strategy for you!

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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