Whether you call it brain freeze or an ice cream headache, it is no fun to experience. Here you are, enjoying a nice cold treat on a hot day, and the pain hits you out of nowhere. Have you ever wondered why this phenomenon happens and what it tells us about the human body? Let’s take a closer look.
According to Dr. Kris Rau of Kentucky (University of Louisville), understanding what happens during ice cream headaches will help us understand how the body reacts to damaging stimuli. The scientific term for ice cream headaches is sphenopalatine ganglion neuralgia. To understand how brain freeze occurs, imagine the body and brain as one huge computer.
As you begin to eat the ice cream, the massive amount of blood vessels and capillaries on the roof of your mouth, along with nerve fibers called nociceptors, detect the cold stimuli causing the blood vessels to constrict. The body reads this as pain because it happens so quickly. The trigeminal nerve (located in the face) then sends a signal to the brain. While the brain does not contain pain sensing fibers, the covering – called the meninges – does. The pain message finally registers at the top of your head, suddenly causing you to stop eating your ice cream long enough for it all to calm down.
More research is being conducted as there is a theory that this type of evidence may suggest a cure for migraines.
Helping Headaches Naturally
While ice cream headaches are temporary and self-inflicted, many people suffer from chronic tension headaches or even migraines. One form of care that can help with these headaches is upper cervical chiropractic care.
A misalignment in the bones of the upper neck can cause improper signals to be sent to the brain, thereby leading to headaches. By correcting the misalignment, communication can be restored, and headaches may become less intense or go away completely. To learn more, contact an upper cervical chiropractor near you.