Should I be afraid of ice cream headache?

If you’re an ice cream lover, an ice cream headache is just a side-effect of one of life’s gustatory pleasures. If you are prone to migraines or one of your parents suffers from ice cream headache, you might experience it more often than your average ice cream eater.

Overall, it is one of the most common headaches and it is estimated to affect one third of the population. We asked a few neurologists whether our readers should be worried about it. Their answer: ice cream headache is more annoying than it is dangerous (the only real danger is that it keeps you from enjoying your dessert). There is no reason for medical concern, since the headache is short-lived and ceases spontaneously. In addition, brain cooling is used in certain neurosurgical techniques because it seems to be protective for the brain.

What can you do if pain overrules the pleasure of eating ice cream? Simple: stop eating cold treats, press your tongue against the palate of your mouth or drink/eat something warm to speed up normalizing the temperature in your mouth.


Sandra is an MD-PhD at University Medical Centrum Groningen and an International Alumni Ambassador at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

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