Brain freeze is practically a rite of summer. It happens when you eat ice cream or gulp something ice cold too quickly. The scientific term is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, but that's a mouthful. Brain freeze is your body's way of putting on the brakes, telling you to slow down and take it easy
Experiencing a sudden stabbing pain while enjoying an ice cream? Well, then you know what a brain freeze is!
Brain freeze, also called an ice cream headache, the medical term for this type of headache is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.
When something cold touches the roof of your mouth - the palate, the sudden temperature change of the tissue stimulates nerves to cause rapid dilation and swelling of blood vessels. This is an attempt to direct blood to the area and warm it back up. The dilation of the blood vessels triggers pain receptors, which release pain-causing prostaglandins, increase sensitivity to further pain, and produce inflammation while sending signals through the trigeminal nerve to alert the brain to the problem. Because the trigeminal nerve also senses facial pain, the brain interprets the pain signal as coming from the forehead. This is called 'referred pain' since the cause of the pain is in a different location from where you feel it. Brain freeze typically hits about 10 seconds after chilling your palate and lasts about half a minute. Only a third of people experience brain freeze from eating something cold, though most people are susceptible to a related headache from sudden exposure to a very cold climate.
Prevent and treat :
Eating ice cream slowly is less likely to cause you a brain freeze than gobbling it down. Eating or drinking something cold, also helps to keep your mouth cold rather than allowing it to warm up. However, one of the quickest ways to reduce the pain of brain freeze is to warm your palate with your tongue. But be careful not to follow that with another scoop of ice-cream!