TAMPA (FOX 13) - Now that we're in the heat of the summer, many may be enjoying a frozen drink or ice cream when suddenly severe pain takes over your brain. You stop eating, and seconds later the pain ends. You have experienced the weird phenomena known as brain freeze.
If you live in Florida, and you have sought out an icy treat, you probably know this feeling.
“It felt like someone was putting an ice pack on my head," little Grayson explained.
For Arianna, she has her own description. “It felt like my whole brain had freezed.”
Arianna got it right. Brain freeze is a recognized condition.
Dr. Juan Valdivia-Valdivia at BayCare Medical Group said, “It’s called sphenopalatine ganglion," and there are two theories.
When something cold hits your upper palate, your blood vessels in the area constrict and then dilate, and scientists actually proved this in a study.
“They had a group of subjects or volunteers, and they used transcranial Doppler so they had a cold stimulus, like a Slurpee or ice cream, and they saw that the blood flow increased significantly after this," Valdivia-Valdivia said.
That raises pressure inside the skull producing those headaches. The other theory is referred pain.
"Your brain, by getting stimuli from the pallet area, thinks, it gets confused and thinks stimuli is from here," Valdivia-Valdivia explained. “I think the message to take home is the brain is telling you not to do that. Just like any pain stimulus.”
Basically, if it hurts, stop doing it.
Researchers hope that learning more about brain freeze might lead to treatment or even a cure for migraine headaches. For the rest of us though, if you want the brain freeze to stop -- try these tips from a couple of young experts.
Little Harper said, “I put my tongue up on my teeth." while Aiden told FOX 13 news, “I stop and waited for it to go away.”