The following was posted previously here on the Ice Cream Journal, but we’ll be making an announcement soon about something related to this topic, so we’ve decided to bring it back for a second look. If you’ve got any tips of your own, share them with a comment!
We get this question a lot, so we thought it would be appropriate to address it here on our blog. Believe it or not, some people are immune to ice cream headaches. We call these people lucky. The rest of us, however, know exactly what it feels like.
Ice cream headaches (also known as “brain freeze”), happen when very cold items, like ice cream or slushy drinks, are consumed quickly. The scientific name is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgis – what a mouthful. When these items contact the nerves in the roof of your mouth, the nerves overreact and tell certain blood vessels in your head to become larger causing an increase in blood pressure in the head. This expansion is what causes the headache. The best way to avoid the headache is to eat slower, which allows the nerves to warm up between bites.
But this is only the most popular theory. Others think it’s caused by the same vessels constricting and dilating like in your fingers when you come in from playing in the snow, or from irritation of the optic nerve that’s close to the roof of your mouth. Others say it from blood rushing to your stomach to warm it, decreasing the blood in your head. Kayakers and surfers report the same pain when they are hit by cold water in the face.
DID YOU KNOW? Some studies show that people who experience migraine headaches are much more likely to experience ice cream headaches.
Of course, ice cream headaches are harmless and usually go away after about 30 seconds. Can’t wait that long? Here’s a few tips we’ve heard over the years for how to get rid of them. We can’t say whether or not all of them will work, but it’s worth a shot!
- Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth
- Drink warm liquids
- Hold your breath
- Breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose
- Hold whatever gave you the headache against your forehead (this one doesn’t sound effective, but it would be funny to watch)
If you’ve got any tips of your own, feel free to leave a comment. Also feel free to check out the Turkey Hill interns putting some of these remedies to the test!