My kids call them "frozen headaches"--others just call them
"ice cream headaches"--the sudden onset of piercing head pain if you bite an
ice pop or eat your ice cream cone too fast. This pain is usually felt in the
middle of the forehead and lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. These
headaches are a definite nuisance--but could they also have some diagnostic
A recent study published in a prominent headache journal [Cephalgia,
2001; 21: 230-235] showed that women who had at least one migraine in the past
year were twice as likely to get a frozen headache after drinking cold water
through a straw...compared to women who had never had a migraine. The study
does not answer the opposite question, however: whether women who are prone
to frozen headaches would necessarily be more prone to migraines.
The researchers are unable to explain exactly how a cold sensation in the roof
of the mouth causes this intense headache, but they presume it triggers the
same mechanism as the pain of migraine. For those women who do suffer from
frequent migraines, eating or drinking ice cold foods and beverages may have
to be added to the list of possible triggers to avoid.
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Created: 8/30/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.