RISMEDIA, June 5, 2007-With the temperatures heating up, one summer staple for these warm days is? ice cream. But, nothing ruins the refreshing consumption of a cold substance on a hot day like a painful brain freeze, also know as an ice cream headache and medically as Spheno Palatine Gangleoneuralgia (the pronouncing of which can give a headache as well).
Fortunately, if you are a victim of brain freeze, you aren’t completely helpless in the matter. Here’s how:
First, understand what causes brain freeze. When the cold object touches the roof of your mouth, the blood vessels tighten up in response in an effort to prevent loss of body heat. As the coldness recedes, the blood vessels loosen up again, quickly increasing blood flow to the brain. This sudden release is what causes the intense headache sensation.
Try to prevent cold food from touching the roof of your mouth. Obviously, you’re not going to give up cold foods just so that you can avoid brain freeze. Rather, let the bite or sip warm on your tongue before you let the substance touch the roof of your mouth.
Relieve brain freeze pain by quickly warming the roof of your mouth (also referred to as the palate) after it’s already been cooled. If you do this soon enough, you may be able to ease the surge of bloodflow to your brain.
Other suggestions include:
– Touch your tongue to your palate. If you can roll your tongue in a ball, press the bottom of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The underside of your tongue may be warmer than the top side which was probably cooled by the Slurpee you just chugged. (Some people find that firmly pressing your tongue against the roof of the mouth alleviates brain freeze, so try applying extra pressure!)
– Drink a warm substance. Slowly sipping room temperature water also does the trick for some people.
– Make a mask with your hands to cover your mouth and nose. Breathe quickly, raising the temperature inside your mouth.
– Press a warm thumb against your palate.
– Wait it out. The brain freeze will usually pass on its own within 30-60 seconds. Sometimes the shock of the brain freeze makes it seem worse than it really is, but if you expect it and know that it’ll come and go, it doesn’t have to be a traumatizing experience.
To avoid needing to use the above steps, try not to swallow too much cold food at once. Savor it and breathe in-between each mouthful. Alternatively, eat the food at a slightly warmer temperature if possible.
Much like “hiccup cures” these methods may or may not work for you, but it doesn’t hurt to try them.