You may have experienced a brief but very painful and specific headache after consuming something cold. It’s called brain freeze, also known as an ice cream headache, and it can happen sometimes when you eat ice cream or drink ice water.
Most of the time, it only lasts for a few seconds and you can enjoy your cold food or drink right away, but it’s important to learn about this so that we can try to avoid it.
We want to explain how it works and what happens to us when we have the dreaded brain freeze but don’t worry, it’s not a serious condition.
How To Recognize A Brain Freeze
It occurs after you quickly consume something cold, like ice cream or water, and touch your palate. It can also happen when you have just inhaled something very cold.
People often experience this when it is hot and they consume something very cold. The sensation we have includes a very sudden and sharp pain in the front of the head.
The pain does not last long, it is usually a few seconds or even a minute or 2 in some cases.
The Cause Of Brain Freeze Is Still A Bit Of A Mystery
When you consume something cold, or even cold air, you are changing the temperature in the back of your throat at the junction of the internal carotid artery and the anterior cerebral artery.
And according to neuroscientist Dwayne Godwin, the brain doesn’t like changes, so a brain freeze is, in a way, a preventative measure.
So when the cold hits, it causes these arteries to dilate and contract, and that’s what the brain is interpreting as pain.
Brain Freeze Versus Migraine
Research shows that people with migraines are more likely to freeze their brains. However, the biggest and most important difference between the 2 is that brain freeze only lasts for a short period of time and goes away on its own, without the need for medication.
While migraines not only last longer, they can also cause other discomforts, such as nausea.
You Can “treat” A Brain Freeze Quite Easily
As we mentioned, brain freeze doesn’t last long, but if we ever experience it, there are some good ways to get over it faster. The first is to drink something warm or at room temperature.
The other way is to press the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Its heat will transfer to the sinuses and warm the nerves that cause the brain to freeze. Keep your tongue there until the pain passes.
The Best Thing To Do Is To Avoid It Altogether
While it is not dangerous for us, it is still an uncomfortable feeling, so if you want to avoid it, the steps are simple. Avoid ingesting frozen food or drinks and avoid breathing very cold air.
If you are eating something cold, try to eat slowly. And when you walk outside in cold temperatures, a mask or scarf can help protect you from the air.
Have you ever froze your brain? How long did it last?