Ice Cream Headaches

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

If youve ever experienced a sudden stabbing pain in your forehead when eating ice cream or enjoying a cool drink then youve experienced brain freeze. Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at ice cream headaches in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Ice cream headaches are brief, stabbing headaches that can happen when you eat or drink something cold, causing a brain-freeze effect.

Ice cream headaches are caused by cold material moving across the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat. Scientists are still unsure about the exact mechanism that causes this pain.

One theory suggests that the cold food or drink may temporarily alter blood flow in your brain, causing a brief headache. Some researchers suspect that the pain is referred from your mouth to your head via the trigeminal nerve, which delivers sensory information from the face and mouth to the brain.

Ice cream headaches can affect anyone. But you may be more susceptible to ice cream headaches or have more severe ice cream headaches if youre prone to migraines. The headaches may also be more common among people with a history of head injuries.

Ice cream headaches dont need treatment. Typically, the pain quickly disappears after the cold food or drink is swallowed.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.