In quest of intel and fast suggestions, we reached out to Ashley Agan, MD, an otolaryngologist (aka ear, nostril, and throat physician, or ENT) with UT Southwestern Medical Middle.
What causes mind freeze?
“Mind freeze, also called ice cream headache or chilly stimulus headache, is a fast, short-lasting ache over the entrance or sides of the top that’s introduced on by ingestion of chilly meals or drinks,” Dr. Agan begins. Its trigger has but to be absolutely understood, however she mentions that it’s probably triggered by the sudden tightening and growth of blood vessels.
“Mind freeze, also called ice cream headache or chilly stimulus headache, is a fast, short-lasting ache over the entrance or sides of the top that’s introduced on by ingestion of chilly meals or drinks.”
“One speculation is that the sudden publicity to chilly triggers fast vasoconstriction—or narrowing of blood vessels—adopted by vasodilation, or widening of blood vessels,” Dr. Agan explains, activating ache receptors throughout the blood vessel partitions within the course of. “This ache sign passes by means of the sensory nerve of the top and face, which interprets to the painful expertise that we acknowledge as mind freeze.”
Thankfully, mind freeze is extra uncomfortable than it’s harmful. “Basically, it’s a very fast ache that dissipates in minutes,” Dr. Agan says. She notes that it’s quite common and tends to occur extra continuously in youngsters… although a few of us who can’t assist however quickly down a hefty serving of ice cream with the enthusiasm of a kid might be extra prone to expertise mind freeze typically, as nicely.
As well as, Dr. Agan mentions that individuals who endure from migraine complications could also be extra vulnerable to mind freeze. (Surprisingly sufficient, it seems that those that have continual migraines could discover aid by dunking their heads in cold water reasonably than sipping on it.)
Easy methods to cease mind freeze in its tracks
There are some things you are able to do to restrict the severity of mind freeze and cease it rapidly as soon as it hits—and fortunate for us, none of them entails passing up frozen treats for good. Based on a 2019 review in Present Neurology and Neuroscience Experiences, the severity, frequency, and latency of mind freeze is essentially influenced by the dimensions of the uncovered space and the pace at which you eat a triggering meals or drink.
For example, downing a big bottle of ice-cold water is extra prone to result in intense mind freeze in comparison with crunching on a small ice dice. With that in thoughts, Dr. Agan recommends having fun with chilly meals and bevs slowly—or a minimum of as slowly as you possibly can earlier than they soften—and maybe swapping ice water for H2O at room temperature.
One other hack that may do the trick and solely takes a little bit of persistence to make use of? “Maintain the substance within the entrance of your mouth for a couple of seconds to heat it up earlier than swallowing it,” Dr. Agan says. Bear in mind: Much less icy temps means a decrease chance of experiencing ache, and thus a higher chance of absolutely having fun with your fave chilly treats by means of summer season and past.
Should you discover that mind freeze nonetheless creeps up on you, Dr. Agan leaves us with a parting tip to mitigate the ache nearly immediately. “Take away the chilly set off and heat up the roof of the mouth by urgent your tongue or thumb to the roof of your mouth,” she advises, to reset to baseline.