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What causes Ice-cream headaches?

Dag Stenberg stenberg at cc.Helsinki.FI
Wed Feb 28 04:09:12 EST 1996


ggowland (ggowland at uniserve.com) wrote:

} It's science project time for my 11 year old daughter's grade 5 class. We 
} are trying to put together some information about what the causes the 
} pain when you eat something cold too fast. Also we can't seem to find an 
} answer as to what this condition is called by the medical community. Any 
} and all info would be greatly appreciated.

Wtihout knowing what kind of pain (location, quality) you are talking
about, I can only think of the one I sometimes experience in that
situation. It is similar to
	trigeminal neuralgia
and consists of a rather sharp, but not throbbing, pain that is mostly 
localized to one or both sides of the face between the upper lip and the
eye. This is due to cooling of the maxillar branch of the trigeminal
nerve. This branch comes out from its bone channel about midway between
the eye and the upper lip, and in my case one side is more sensitive 
than the other. It is sometimes activated by cold wind also.
  The other branches of the trigeminal nerve are the frontal nerve,
coming out from its bone channel just above the eye-brow. I find that ii
is often activated by cold wind, but seldom by eating icecream. The
third branch is the mandibular one, innervating the jaw, and personally,
I have (strangely enough) never had it activated by eating icecream.
  
There may be other reasons for pain due to eating icecream than
trigeminal pain, but I would think that those occur more seldom.

Regards,	Dag Stenberg
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Dag Stenberg     MD PhD                    stenberg at cc.helsinki.fi
Institute of Biomedicine		   tel: int.+358-0-1918532
Department of Physiology                   fax: int.+358-0-1918681
P.O.Box 9       (Siltavuorenpenger 20 J)   tlx: 1002125 finuh sf
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki,Finland   
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