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How to Cure 'Brain Freeze'

Ice Cream Sundae

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If you get a headache after eating ice cream or drinking a cold beverage – you’ve experienced “brain freeze,” a very real phenomenon, according to doctors.

Brain freeze starts at the roof of your mouth, said Dr. Paul Bryson, who treats patients at the Cleveland Clinic’s Head and Neck Institute.

“At the back, on the roof of your mouth, sort of on the hard palette, soft palette region, there are some blood vessels that come down beside the teeth – and when cold touches them, they contract,” Bryson said. “And that contraction, by itself doesn’t really cause any bad feelings, it’s what happens when it starts to warm up that brings about the brain freeze.”

When the blood vessels start to warm up, a sudden rush of blood brings about a “mini-migraine.”

However, the problem can be averted by eating or drinking slower, or letting the ice cream sit on your tongue for a period of time to warm-up before swallowing, Bryson said.

Bryson said eating whipped cream with your ice cream also works well as a buffer.

If you already have the brain freeze headache, you can try to get rid of it by putting your tongue over the roof of your mouth to warm up the area, or sipping water.

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