The People's Perspective on Medicine

Triggering Brain Freeze May Stop Migraine Headache Fast

Q. I have been suffering from severe migraines and recently noticed that if I chug a Slurpee and induce “brain freeze,” my headache immediately clears up or goes away entirely. It makes more of a difference than my prescription medication.

A. You are not alone. Other readers have reported that inducing brain freeze with ice cream, ice water or a Starbucks Frappuccino can interrupt a migraine.

There is even some research to support this approach (FASEB Journal, supplement, April 2012). Researchers found that drinking ice water constricted blood flow near the palate, resulting in brain freeze. Since migraines are believed to be triggered by changes in blood flow to the brain, disrupting the process by creating brain freeze may explain your remedy.

Those who don’t benefit from brain freeze may be interested in the many other natural approaches in our Guide to Headaches & Migraines.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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flashing lightning bolts and vision loss, absolutely no pain. Are an occular attack. Usually due to stress. One of the things to avoid are bright or shining lights.

A relative started having ocular migraines and dr. advised taking magnesium daily would help. It eliminated the headaches. A friend was told the same thing by her cardiologist and had excellent results after starting 250 mg magnesium citrate daily.

I inherited and suffer from migraines for years. I call baloney on acupuncture “curing”: migraine. I can see it as a treatment for symptom relief, but not a cure. If someone can point to significant evidence I’m all ears…

Many years ago I started to get migraines, flashing lightning bolts (left eye) and vision loss (left eye), absolutely no pain.
My cousin, upon learning that I was having migraine symptoms, recounted to me that she would walk into the “cold” room at the wine distributor’s where she worked, breath the cold air for a while until it would “short cut” her symptoms and she would NOT get the migraine that was announcing itself. This had to be done, according to her, when you first noticed the aura (learned by trial and error).
I kind of laughed it off until I had the symptoms again. What is there to lose, I thought, and stuck my head in the freezer compartment of my fridge and breathed the frozen air (husband walked in and thought I had lost it).
To my surprise…it really works. I have shortcut many migraines with this method, seems safe and effective. I haven’t had a migraine in years.
I told my doctor about this method and he laughed and said if it worked for me…use it. It seems so simple no wonder he laughed. All I can say is…now who’s laughing!

I would urge anyone who hasn’t tried Acupuncture for migraines to try it. It doesn’t hurt and after only a few treatments, I was cured. I have had a few sinus headaches during the allergy season, but I haven’t had a bad migraine in over 12 years.

I would like to hear more about this cure.

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