Brain Freeze and Migraines
The current leading explanation for migraines is that the dilation of blood vessels in the brain causes them. The only problem is we don’t know what triggers the dilation or resolves it. Even before there was good evidence that brain freeze was vascular in origin, people have postulated a connection between the two. For a long time, people thought that migraines and brain freeze were related and that people who had migraines were more likely to get brain freeze until a 1992 study showed that people with migraines were less likely to get brain freeze headaches.
Although the 1992 study concludes, “the ice cream headache seems not to have any special significance for migraine patients,” anecdotal evidence points in a different direction. So does ice cream help migraines? Many migraine sufferers report that inducing an ice cream headache can stop a migraine in its early phases.
Why this would be so is unclear, since a double influx of blood would seem to increase the pain of a headache, not relieve it, but perhaps inducing an ice cream headache somehow regulates the blood flow associated with migraines.
Remember, though, this evidence is anecdotal and has no scientific basis or verification. At the very least, you can enjoy a delicious treat next time you have a headache. It doesn’t hurt to experiment!