Saturday, August 6, 2011

Brain freeze

I was bad today. I sneaked some ice cream while Katie was at work and Olivia was in the living room reading her favorite Busy Town book. It was really yummy. I was eating it really fast because I didn't want Olivia to see me eating it and want some herself. The problem with scarfing it down is that it dramatically increases the likelihood of a brain freeze.

This one was absolutely devastating. It hit really hard and made the whole right side of my face seize up in pain. My eyes were watering and I fell to the ground and crawled over to the rug and laid there for a little bit. Olivia kind of laughed and walked over to me and said "Daddy fall down!" Then she proceeded to use me as a jungle gym.

Once my headache went away (two whole minutes later) I thought I would look up how they work. The ice cream cools and constricts the blood vessels on the roof of the mouth. This change in blood vessel size stimulates the trigeminal nerve that goes over the mouth (you know what I'm talking about, Alison...right?) The nerve sends the signal to the brain, and the brain misinterprets the signal for a pain signal from the forehead, face, etc.

I just found a cure for a brain freeze! The trick is to warm that area of your mouth as fast as you can to make the blood capilaries expand again. You can do this by pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth or drinking some warm water.

I can tell you that I'm definitely planning on trying that the next time I get another headache.


Randi said...

I had a really bad brain freeze today! I was eating shave ice and my head was totally throbbing.. that pictorial representation is very accurate. If your hands are clean (as they would be if you wash your hands before eating), you could use your thumb to warm it up--immediate relief. :)

Bryan Lewis said...

That's good to know! I'll be sure to wash my hands, or at least my thumb, before eating any ice cream. :)