There's nothing worse than taking a gulp of your favorite frozen drink and getting the sudden rush of a brain freeze. Your first instinct may be to bear down, grit your teeth or just scrunch your face to relieve the pressure. These tactics rarely help a brain freeze. The sharp tingle in your brain is caused when very cold objects touch the roof of your mouth, causing blood vessels to swell and nerves to send a message to the brain that creates the cold headache. The good news is that you can stop brain freeze, just follow these tips.
- Sip or taste slowly. Try to prevent brain freeze before it occurs by savoring your cold foods. Rather than taking a large gulp of pina colada or a big bite of ice cream, consume in smaller increments and space them out so your mouth warms up between bites or sips. If you skipped this step and already have a brain freeze, start with step two.
- Drink something warm. Counteract the quick freeze by taking a few sips of a warm beverage. Drink warm water or try hot tea or coffee if you prefer something with taste. Just remember you don't want to overcompensate by drinking something so hot that you burn your mouth.
- Apply pressure to the roof of your mouth. Since the cold pain of a brain freeze is caused with a cold substance touches the roof of your mouth, take the cure straight to the source. Try to apply pressure to the roof of your mouth. You can do this by pressing your tongue upwards or even try using one of your thumbs. If your tongue is still cold from the ice cream, however, this is less likely to work so be careful.
- Wait for it to pass. The great news about a brain freeze is that it will dissipate soon after it starts, usually in less than a minute. If none of the above cures works for you, just be patient and the pain will pass.
While a brain freeze may be a sharp pain for an instant it is mostly an annoyance. Try to avoid this shocking reaction to cold food and drinks or follow these steps to relieve the irritating pinch. Keep in mind that all cures won't work for everyone so start with step one and if it doesn't work for you move down through the rest of the list.