How To Cure Brain Freeze

This stock photo is cross-listed under "headache" and "amazing hair."

This stock photo is cross-listed under "headache" and "amazing hair." George Marks/Getty Images hide caption

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From our How To Do Everything podcast:

If you've ever inhaled a slurpee too fast, you're likely familiar with sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, which is another word for "ice cream headache," as well as an extremely impressive Scrabble play. Chicago pediatrician Dr. Peter Lechman told us why it happens:

The roof of your mouth gets cold, which causes immediate constriction of the blood vessels. As soon as those blood vessels constrict, your body reacts by trying to dilate them very quickly in order to get more warm blood to the area and heat it up. Pain receptors in the roof of your mouth send a message up to your brain telling you you've got something bad going on in the roof of your mouth. And it causes you to experience an intense headache in your forehead.

So, is an ice cream headache your body's way of protecting you from some terrible ice-cream-in-your-mouth-related mortal danger? Says Lechman:

No. [Your brain] is overreacting.

Assuming the occasional ice cream headache is an inevitability, how do you get rid of it? At this point, Dr. Lechman starts sounding a lot less like a medical professional.

Get the ice cream out of your cakehole, and drink a warm liquid or put your tongue at the roof of your mouth to heat up the area.

Problem solved. Go forth and enjoy that mid-January Choco Taco with gusto.



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