Turns Out Brain Freeze Is A Real Medical Condition
As almost everyone can attest, eating ice cream too fast can be a bittersweet experience. One second, youre hastily enjoying a tasty treat, and the next thing you know, youre suddenly experiencing sharp head pain.
Turns out this phenomenon which many people know as a brain freeze is an actual medical condition. Its called a cold stimulus headache, which is defined by pain in the middle of the forehead or behind the eyes and nose lasting for less than five minutes after rapidly consuming cold food or drink. The exact cause of these headaches isnt known, but some scientists believe its due to the cold ice cream stimulating temperature-sensitive nerves as it passes over your palate or teeth. Thankfully, while ice cream headaches are uncomfortable, they rarely ever require treatment and subside quickly.
Migraine sufferers may want to take caution when devouring a scoop or two of their favorite frozen treat. While the findings are inconclusive, some researchers say migraine sufferers may be more susceptible to brain freeze, and that it can sometimes trigger a migraine in those already prone to them.
Luckily for ice cream lovers, these headaches may be avoided simply by eating ice cream and other cold foods more slowly but you probably already knew that. If, however, you find that ice cream headaches may be triggering your migraines, talk to your doctor. And maybe consider a warmer treat a hot fudge sundae, perhaps?
What Foods Are Good For Headache Relief
People ask how to cure migraines permanently. Unfortunately, and essentially because medical researchers have not yet pinpointed the specific cause of migraine headaches, there is no permanent cure. However, they have identified specific nutritional vitamins, minerals, and other elements that can bring headache relief from migraines and other types of headaches.
Though instant migraine relief is difficult to achieve, some foods can work rapidly, like ginger and nuts. Following are some foods that fight migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, caffeine headaches, and headaches in general.
The Connection Between Ice Cream Headaches And Migraines Isnt Fully Understood
Some early attempts to understand ice cream headaches suggested they might be a sub-type of migraines, because both involve disordered responses to sensory stimuli. The widening and narrowing of blood vessels that occurs during ice cream headaches is a pattern that could explain some migraine headaches. Others have argued that the pain of ice cream headaches is a type of referred pain, a mysterious but well-known phenomenon in which a stimulus in one part of the body causes pain in another.
The connection between ice cream headaches and migraines isnt fully understood, though the link is commonly accepted. A 2001 study conducted by neurologist Peter Mattson of Swedens University Hospital found that women who had experienced at least one migraine within the previous year were twice as likely to develop a headache from cold water as those who were migraine-free.
Palate and brain
And in 2004, a Turkish neurologist named Macit Selekler rounded up patients who suffered either migraine headaches or tension headaches. Together with his colleagues, Selekler then administered the ice test, which required that patients use their tongue to hold an ice cube against their palates. The test resulted in headaches for nearly 60% of his patients, and of those, more than 80% were from the migraine group.
Children who take time to eat ice cream tend not to get the headaches, research suggests
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Avoid Foods That Trigger Migraines Containing Soy Sauce And Msg
Monosodium glutamate , which is found in soy sauce and as a food additive in many other foods, has been found to cause cramps, diarrhea, and a horrible headache in 10 to 15 percent of people who get migraine headaches. “Soy sauce as a migraine trigger is probably due to MSG, but soy sauce is also very salty, which can lead to dehydration, another possible headache trigger,” notes Rosen.
Instead Of: Raw Vegetables
As we move into summer, fresh raw vegetables look more and more appetizing. It makes sense that when the days heat up, we like to cool down, staying out of the kitchen and taking advantage of the farmers market bounty. But in addition to the triggering effect of hotter temperatures and a rising barometer, many raw fruits and vegetables like corn, tomatoes, onions, apples, and bananas can also set off migraine pain. It can be a catch-22, deciding between migraine pain and getting the health benefits of vegetables.
Try: Cooked vegetables
While some experts disagree with the idea that certain vegetables can trigger migraines, if they do bother you, skip them and reach for foods that have never been linked to migraines, such as leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes. These vegetables are filled with antioxidants and may also be anti-inflammatory. Steam or roast them lightly on the grill to retain their nutrients and keep your house cool in the summer months.
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Triggers Of Migraine Headaches
How To Ease Brain Freeze
On a hot summer day, theres nothing like taking a big gulp of ice-cold water or a slushy beverage, or going for a big mouthful of ice cream. Great way to cool down, right?
But then it hits you: a bolt of intense pain in the temples, forehead or behind the eyes or nose.
Brain freeze, otherwise known as ice cream headache, is technically known as cold neuralgia or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. Big words for a short but-agonizing episode.
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Food Triggers Are Specific To The Individual
The hard thing about food triggers is that a food may trigger migraine in one person and not another. Some people only need 1 drink while others need a combination of food triggers before a migraine occurs. Plus, one person may be more, or less, sensitive to certain foods and drinks at different times in their life.
Are Ice Cream Headaches Anti
July is National Ice Cream Month! What do ice cream and TMJ have in common? Theyre both ways that your mouth can cause headaches. And now it seems that ice cream headaches may be more similar to migraines than we ever thought before. Before you indulge in your favorite summer treat, learn if ice cream helps headaches.
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Foods That Trigger Headaches
Headaches and migraines are often triggered by certain foods. But not all headache triggers deserve their bad rap.
Theres nothing like a pounding headache to make you seek refuge in a dark, quiet room and hide from the world. If you suffer with chronic headache pain, you have great company. More than 45 million Americans have chronic headache pain from migraine, tension, or cluster headaches.
Women suffer headaches more frequently than men, perhaps because of variations in the brain chemical called serotonin, which plays a role in pain and depression. When levels of the hormone estrogen plummet, levels of serotonin change as well.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common headaches include:
- Cluster headache
- Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia , cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicranias
Whether you suffer with migraines, tension or sinus headaches, or headaches from arthritis or jaw pain, all headaches have one central thread that weaves them together: inner or outer triggers cause the body to react with pain thats felt in the head. These triggers may stem from foods, tobacco, chemicals, stress, environment, or your hormones, among other things, and may vary from one person to the next.
It Was Only In 1988 That The International Headache Society Formally Recognised The Condition
The first time ice cream headache appeared in print was in 1939. “But your nose and fingertips get quite numb, though, and if you don’t keep rubbing your forehead, you get what we used to call an ice cream headache, wrote Rebecca Timbres in We Didnt Ask Utopia: A Quaker Family in Soviet Russia. While its been discussed in the medical literature since at least the 1850s, it was only in 1988 that the International Headache Society formally recognised the condition, which they referred to as cold stimulus headache.
In the third revision of the International Classification of Headache Disorders published in 2013, an international group of headache researchers came to the consensus that ice cream headaches, which they also referred to as cold stimulus headaches, involve pain that starts upon the application of a cold stimulus either to the head or mouth, and which then must subside shortly after the substance is removed.
While the headaches are short-lived, the pain can be intense
While the most common location for such a headache is just behind the forehead, they can also occur closer to the ears or behind the eyes. No matter its location, an ice cream headache is almost always intense, short-lasting, stabbing. As anyone who has grappled with brain freeze can tell you, its not a pleasant experience.
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Dont Forget The Riboflavin
Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin has been shown to combat migraine incidents. Research shows that it can reduce migraines up to 50% when taking 400mg daily. B2 is also essential for metabolic energy production, so adding more of it can boost energy levels. Adding foods that are high in vitamin B2 like quinoa or asparagus can help you reach that 400mg mark.
Getting Help For Migraines:
So what’s the ideal approach when migraines are knocking you for a loop? Seeing a headache doctor is the best thing to help figure out your unique migraine pattern, says Dr. Natbony. Food triggers are only one small piece of the puzzle, and in some people, they may be impossible to identify. A headache doctor will take a comprehensive approach and find the migraine treatment that works best for you.
In the future, theres hope that a more personalized approach to medicine in which a persons biomarkers, age, sex, and other things are taken into account could eventually lead to specific food recommendations to help prevent and lessen migraines. A future with fewer of those awful, debilitating headaches? That’s something to look forward to.
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Coffee Is A Headache Trigger And A Pain Reliever
“If you sleep later on the weekend and you wake up with a headache, you probably have a caffeine withdrawal headache,” says Dr. Daroff. A little caffeine can actually help get rid of a migraine headache, and caffeine may be included in some migraine medicines, but too much caffeine can be a headache trigger when you come down from your caffeine “high.” Research shows that you need to be drinking about 200 mg of caffeine to get a withdrawal headache when you miss your “dose.”
What Is In A Migraine Cocktail
A migraine cocktail may contain a combination of anti-inflammatories, drugs that alleviate nausea and vomiting, and medications that specifically target migraine.These products typically contain three active ingredients:
- acetaminophen, 250 milligrams Trusted Source.
- aspirin, 250 mg.
- caffeine, 65 mg.
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Brain Freeze And Migraines
The dilation of blood vessels in the brain can also cause migraines. However, the exact causes remain somewhat mysterious. People have been exploring the connection between the two for decades. According to a study from 1992, people with migraines were less likely to get brain freeze headaches, overturning previous notions that migraines and brain freeze were connected in some way.
However, there does seem to be at least an anecdotal connection between the two. More and more migraine sufferers are reporting that inducing an ice cream headache can actually stop a migraine attack in its early phases. Why this would be is mysterious, and the connection has not been investigated in any systematic way. We might think that increasing blood flow in the anterior cerebral artery on top of the already dilated blood flows associated with migraine pain would cause double trouble, but perhaps the brain freeze stimulus serves to regulate swelling in other blood vessels.
Ice Cream Cures Migraine A Delicious Theory Why It Possibly Does
In 2010, my family and I were on a road trip to Palani, Tamil Nadu. I am not a big fan of travelling and on that day, I had a nasty migraine. As my folks made a pit-stop along the way for refreshments, I made an uncharacteristic request for ice cream. I was as confused as my parents were I have never been an ice cream fan and I am not to this day. For some odd reason, on that day, I felt nothing but only ice cream could put me out of my misery.
As my family snacked, I nursed a small cup of ice cream, managing one small morsel at a time. It was plain vanilla , a single-scoop cup from a non-descript local brand.
While eating, I found some relief in pressing the cold ice cream against the roof of my mouth. It was something that I did instinctively. Oddly, it had an ameliorative effect on the migraine. The pain retreated, leaving me stunned at my own discovery.
In the years that followed, every time I sensed a migraine approaching, Id try to stave it off with a cold, milky beverage or an ice cream. Mostly, it would work.
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Watch Out For Aged Cheese On A Migraine Diet
“There is not much research on cheese as a migraine trigger, but it is generally agreed that aged cheese is more likely to cause a headache,” explains Rosen. The culprit may be a substance called tyramine that forms as the proteins in cheese break down over time. The longer a cheese ages, the more tyramine it has. Examples you might want to skip on a migraine diet to avoid headaches include blue cheese, Swiss, cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan.
Are There Other Diets That Can Help A Migraine
Many specific diets have been proposed as solutions to migraines, but research hasnt consistently backed them up.
So what does Dr. Natbony suggest? My clinical approach is to first recommend a diet that is wholesome, fresh, and as unprocessed as possible, as this already eliminates a bunch of potential food triggers, she says. If a patient wants a more specific diet, I will recommend one of the three with the most evidence high omega 3/low omega 6 diet, low fat diet, and the elimination diet.
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Whats The Best Way To Use An Ice Pack To Treat A Headache Or A Migraine
Since ice packs are considered a home remedy, there are a variety of ways to use this treatment. As always, if you have questions or concerns about treating your headache at home, ask your doctor before trying any of these strategies.
Elliott says the best way to use cold therapy for a headache or a migraine is to apply the ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Where you apply the ice pack also makes a difference in how quickly you can experience relief. The 2013 study specifically recommends applying the ice in the form of a neck wrap, which can help reduce the pain and discomfort from headaches and migraines.
Brain Freeze: Does It Actually Work As A Home Remedy For Migraine Headaches
You can find all kinds of anecdotal reports that intentionally causing a brain freeze works to stop a migraine in its tracks and relieves pain. Many people find that eating ice cream, drinking ice-cold water, slurping a slushy drink, or holding cold water on their upper palate is effective.
Even people who find no relief from medications and other common migraine treatment recommendations have reported migraine relief from this seemingly strange yet simple strategy. But how could it possibly work?
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Spinach Could Help Migraines Go Away
This dark leafy green vegetable is particularly rich in magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach contains 157 milligrams, making it an easy and excellent way to start increasing the magnesium levels in your diet. Add spinach to your scrambled eggs in the morning, toss some baby spinach into your salad at lunch, or make sautéed spinach with garlic as a side for dinner.
Identify Your Trigger Foods And Construct A Migraine Diet Plan
This is where the daily activity journal will do the most good. Since foods affect people differently, it helps to reset your diet to mostly safe foods to begin with. Trigger foods usually take about two days to start causing headaches again so you can then slowly add in foods you enjoy to see if they are the culprit for headaches.
Caution should be advised when changing your diet as there is no universal migraine diet that is right for everyone. A well-balanced diet is recommended. You should avoid skipping meals as this can have negative effects and actually exacerbate migraines.
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