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How to Avoid an Ice-Cream Headache
The Internet has solved this riddle many times over, which is why we didn’t mention it in our post about <a title="5 Free Ways to Stay Cool" href="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/5-free-ways-to-stay-cool-on-hot-days/" target="_blank">ways to keep cool</a>, but after asking around and finding many people <em>still</em> don't know why we get ice-cream headaches we thought a refreshing refresher was in order.
<strong>Brain Freeze = Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia</strong>
Honestly, why do doctors have to make everything so hard? Look at those words! It’s enough to cause brain freeze <em>without</em> the ice cream.
Unpronounceable words aside, here’s an attempt to simplify the phenomena in five steps:
1. A cold food/drink touches the roof of your mouth.
2. The rapid cooling causes blood vessels to contract.
3. As they begin to warm up again, they expand.
4. The expansion (dilation) triggers pain receptors.
5. You feel like your head is splitting in half for approximately 28 seconds.
Perhaps the most interesting thing is that the sensation is what's called “referred pain” because it originates in your mouth, but you feel it in your brain.
<strong>Stop Ice-Cream Headaches Now!</strong>
Thankfully, there are a couple things you can try to help avoid the dreaded Ice Pick of Doom.
The first and most obvious thing is to keep cold foodstuffs off the roof of your mouth, which is easier than it sounds. How? Slow down your eating, and stop using straws to drink cold things. Sucking things through a straw tends to blast it straight up to the roof of your mouth, so using a spoon for that milkshake might spare you some pain.
The second is to head to colder climes. Dilation doesn’t occur as quickly when your whole body is cold, which means consuming cold foodstuffs while you’re cold is less likely to cause brain freeze.
Does this solve the mystery of why people like to eat ice cream when it’s cold out? You never know, but now you know how to avoid sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia on those hot summer days.