ice cream headaches

I remember that these are caused, not by a real physical danger, but that certain nerves in the back of the throat are affected by the low temperature of the liquid (or ice cream). Especially with a slushee the nerves have a longer exposure to extreme cold. They short-circuit and send false signals of pain to the brain.

A radio show researched this once because they were going to have a slushee-drinking contest. They wanted to make sure that no actual damage would be caused.

Cheers,

David

The link is:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_126.html

It might also help if there was enough attribution to look-up what research was done. I am sure Cecil would be interested if there was research that showed something other than blood-vessel constriction was the cause. :slight_smile:

When I eat ice cream (which I really like), I try to keep a glass of room-temp, or warmer, water around. As soon as I start getting an ice cream headache, I warm up the back of my mouth and throat w/ the (relatively) warm water, and the headache goes away immediately.

I was pre-med in college (the lure of lots of easy money NOW was hard to resist), and from what I understand, the reason you get a headache from something cold in your mouth/throat is for the same reason heart attack victims feel a pain in their left arm when they are having an attack, which is due to the proximity during development of the somatic and nerve cells of each of the respective ‘areas’ (for lack of a better term). I don’t have the evidence in front of me right now, but it sounds reasonable. If this sounds like a load of (*#^, enlighten me.

(BTW, ice cream headaches and migraines don’t feel the same to me at all. Otherwise, I would NEVER eat ice cream.)

As a long time cold water surfer (New York/New England area), I have encountered ice cream headaches, otherwise known as ice cream rockets quite often. After paddling through several winter waves you sometimes feel like screaming. The pain seems to be due to the blood vessels in your head constricting and goes away in a minute or two (or as soon as you move to Florida). I have no research to quote, just emperical evidence.

Apropos of Ed’s post . . . I once made the near-fatal mistake of eating a double-dip chocolate chip cookie dough (waffel cone) while hanging ten off Provincetown during a wicked nor’easter a few years ago. (Where the hell was Sebastian Junger when I needed him to document this?)

I can tell you more than a few nerves, somatic and otherwise, went into cryogenic overload.

I blacked out, coming to God knows how much later atop a wind-blasted dune, revived by the spastic slapping of a large cod’s tail fin against my cheeks.

Interesting stuff… even my wife has told me of her ice cream headaches, but I have never had one, and believe me, I have eaten a LOT of ice cream.

My grandpa used to call these things “yung- yungs”, 'cause yer head goes yunnnngggg-yunnnnggg-yunnnnnggg…so all in my family call it thus. Would’t mind it getting into the general lingo, though, in memory of a great wild mind…