Monday, July 30, 2012

An ice cream headache

An ice cream headache is the direct result of the rapid cooling and rewarming of the capillaries in the sinuses. the cold temperature causes the capillaries in the sinuses to constrict and then experience extreme rebound dilation as they warm up again.In the palate, this dilation is sensed by nearby pain receptors, which then send signals back to the brain via the trigeminal nerve, one of the major nerves of the facial area. This nerve also senses facial pain, so as the neural signals are conducted the brain interprets the pain as coming from the forehead—the same "referred pain" phenomenon seen in heart attacks. Brain-freeze pain may last from a few seconds to a few minutes.

To relieve pain, pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth to warm the area or tilting the head back for about 10 seconds. Another method to relieve ice cream headaches is to drink a liquid that has a higher temperature than the substance that caused the ice cream headache.

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