Q: What exactly happens when I eat something cold and get an ice-cream headache? Is it harmful in any way?
A: Ice-cream headache, also known as "brain freeze" or cold-stimulus headache, is a headache some people get when they consume a cold food or beverage quickly. The pain is usually in the forehead or both temples, and it usually lasts less than five minutes.
Cold-stimulus pain is common, occurring in 30 percent to 40 percent of people who don't usually have headaches. The symptoms are harmless and not a sign of any underlying disease, although many experts believe they're more common in migraine sufferers.
Because ice-cream headaches are so short-lived, they're hard to study, and there's no consensus on how to stop them. Most people have their own methods; the most common is to curl the tongue and press the underside against the roof of the mouth. The best way to prevent the headache is to eat very cold foods slowly.
What Causes Ice-Cream Headache?
A doctor weighs in.
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