Ice cream headaches are caused by cold material moving across the warm roof of your mouth and the back of your throat, such as when you eat ice cream quickly or gulp a cold drink. Scientists are still unsure about the exact mechanism that causes this pain.
One theory is that the cold food or drink may temporarily alter blood flow in your nervous system, causing a brief headache. Blood vessels constrict to prevent the loss of body heat and then relax again to let blood flow rise. This results in a burst of pain that subsides once the body adapts to the temperature change.
March 06, 2015
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm Accessed Feb. 17, 2015.
- Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The international classification of headache disorders: 2nd edition. Cephalalgia. 2004;24(suppl):9.
- Kararizou E. An update on the less-known group of other primary headaches — A review. European Neurological Review. 2014;9:71.
- Garza I. Cold stimulus headache. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 17, 2015.
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