Brain freeze cause targeted by Harvard researchers

Eating ice cream or other cold foods too fast can trigger sudden headaches. (Photo: Flickr/Ulterior Epicure)

You probably have, at one point or another, suffered from sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. It's unpleasant, it hurts and it comes at the least opportune time.

That least opportune time is usually when you're eating ice cream.

The condition, better known as "brain freeze," has for some time been a medical mystery, but according to Medical News Today, scientists at Harvard Medical School may have not only targeted why it happens, but the way to stop it may alleviate pain for migraine sufferers as well.

Researchers at Harvard monitored the blood flow of 13 volunteers as they drank cold water, and the report showed that "brain freeze" occurred when blood flow through a major brain artery increased suddenly and dramatically.

However, when the participants were given warm water, the artery began to contract, a process called vasodilation, and the headache subsided, Medical News Today says.

"(The brain is) fairly sensitive to temperature, so vasodilation might be moving warm blood inside tissue to make sure the brain stays warm," Dr. Jorge Serrador told the publication.

Still, though, you should probably slow down when drinking that Slurpee or eating that ice cream.