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Mayo Clinic Minute: Ice cream brain freeze, it’s a real thing

Do you know that July is Nationwide Ice Cream Month?

Have you ever ever loved a sip of an ice-cold milkshake or taken a chew of an ice cream cone solely to get an on the spot blast of ache or headache that lasts just a few seconds? You are not alone. Dr. Amaal Starling, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, says the situation known as a “cold-stimulus headache.”

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:56) is within the downloads on the finish of the submit. Please courtesy: “Mayo Clinic Information Community.” Learn the script.

Ice cream. It’s chilly, scrumptious and typically painful.

“That’s generally known as a ‘mind freeze’ or an ‘ice cream headache,’ and, us docs, we name {that a} ‘cold-stimulus headache,'” says Dr. Starling.

Ingesting chilly substances, like ice cream, too quick causes the dimensions of the blood vessels to vary quickly.

“There are blood vessels which might be contained in the mouth behind the throat,” says Dr. Starling. “After which when they’re quickly uncovered to one thing very chilly, they constrict or turn out to be smaller. After which they turn out to be bigger. And when these blood vessels quickly change measurement like that, it prompts the ache receptors.”

These blasts of ache may be intense however they sometimes final only some seconds and aren’t harmful. One of the simplest ways to keep away from an ice cream headache is set off avoidance.

Should you’re consuming one thing that’s chilly ─ like a chocolate milkshake ─ Dr. Starling says simply drink it with a smaller straw and drink it good and sluggish.


For the security of its sufferers, employees and guests, Mayo Clinic has strict masking insurance policies in place. Anybody proven with no masks was recorded previous to COVID-19 or recorded in an space not designated for affected person care, the place social distancing and different security protocols had been adopted.

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