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The Truth Behind Brain Freezing Ice Cream Headaches

  By posted Jul 4th 2012
Healthy Living


Brain Freezing Ice Cream Headaches Decoded

Did you know that a simple cup of ice cream can aggravate your migraine headaches? This medical phenomenon is called ice cream headaches – when the brain relatively 'freezes' because of cold food items and leads to a fluctuation in blood flow, causing a migraine attack. A sharp, shooting headache pain occurs when the rapid cooling and re-warming of blood vessels affects the sinuses, thus leading to a throbbing headache. Today, let us understand ice cream headaches in detail...

Causes and symptoms of ice cream headaches.
Ice cream headaches are mostly caused by cold food items, which move from the roof of your mouth to the back of the throat. This sensory information then travels from the face to the mouth and then to the brain. Even though scientists are still unsure about why it happens, it is generally believed that ice cream headaches are caused by the temporary alteration of blood flow in the brain caused by cold food items.  

Some of the symptoms of ice cream headaches can be pain that peaks for short intervals of time, say 30 to 60 seconds and settles down. Besides this, one can suffer from a sharp, stabbing pain in the forehead, a pain that generally lasts for 5 minutes or more. 

If you suffer from ice cream headaches, then here are some important points to consider:

  • Avoid drinking ice cold water or ice cream, if you think that you have had migraine attacks because of them in the past. A cold sensation in the brain makes your nerves expand much more, thus triggering throbbing headaches. 
  • Avoid sitting in chilly rooms. If you are prone to ice cream headaches, your arteries have a tendency to fluctuate in order to adjust to external temperatures. However, if you really want to sit in an air conditioned room, then make sure the temperature is not below 26 degrees. 
  • Try and apply cold ice packs on your forehead with the help of a thick cloth. This will help in dilating the nerves in the brain. 
  • Don’t consume foods that are too cold in nature, if you are suffering from an ice cream headache. Make sure your eating pattern is healthy and regular, and you are keeping away from excessive coffee intake. 

*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images  




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