What causes an ice cream headache?

In what way is this “potentially dangerous?”

Common sense would suggest that it would not hurt otherwise.

Common sense is not actually a reliable measure of truth. Can you provide some physical reason why this would be dangerous? Because I can’t think of any.

I have, as I noted above, Central Pain Syndrome. What that means is that I have hyperalgesia and alodynia caused by overactive nerves in the CNS. Things that are merely uncomfortable for the average person cause pain for me, and painful things are exaggerated (hyperalgesia). Non-painful things cause pain (alodynia). For example, when the hair stylist sprays the room-temperature water in her spray bottle to wet my hair for a haircut, the spray that hits my skin feels like fire burning my skin. A breeze from a fan feels like sandpaper removing my skin. If your “common sense” held, for me water sprays and fans would be dangerous. But we know they’re not. We know that not everything that hurts is dangerous. So what about holding something cold in your mouth and breathing through your nose is dangerous?

It is a warning that one is approaching dangerous territory. Stop drinking or eating that right now. Like the gag reflex. It might be a mis-understanding or a false signal being mis-interpretted like sciatica, but I doubt it. At what temperature or length of exposure would actual damage occur? and when should your body start to warn you? Would you really continue to eat because intellectually you know it might be a false or bad signal being misunderstood by your common sense? That would be over-intellectualizing.

Your situation sounds like the system is mis-behaving in a different way, but it doesn’t represent the ‘as designed’ function of the machine. I am sorry you are experiencing pain. That is major suckage.

Actually, the CNS response to pain is a continuum, not an absolute. Central Pain Syndrome is one extreme, but there exist people at the other extreme–people who feel no pain despite large damage to their bodies. We think of the extremes as “malfunction.” But really, even the middle is a continuum. Some people experience more pain with a given stimulus than others. It’s actually pretty nearly a “normal distribution” where the vast majority fall within 2 standard deviations of the mean.

And yes, I DO continue to eat ice cream even though I have experienced pain as a result of eating it too fast. (As I said, I feel the pain in my chest, not my head.) I even have pain from drinking iced tea too fast, but I still drink iced tea. I do so slowly enough to avoid the pain, at least mostly.

As I said, there is nothing about “common sense” that makes a good measure of truth. You STILL have not said what is the obvious danger in holding something cold in your mouth while breathing through your nose. It hurts, yes, but what “danger” are you saying is associated with it?

It IS major suckage, BTW, but life is what it is. You take it as it comes, and try to make it as good as you can.

I am not going to be able to provide you with any proof. My goal had more to do with re-establishing that common sense is a good enough indicator in such a scenario. We can trust that a warning is not a spurious signal (unless one has the issue of spurious signals anyway) and act accordingly. When it comes to life and safety erring on the side of caution would seem to have an obvious evolutionary advantage. The sensation of intense cold when inhaling is enough indication of dangerous conditions to warrant a strong reaction. It isn’t that ice cream will kill you or that the specific cause of the pain is going to hurt you. It comes close enough to a real situation of danger to merit a strong message of warning before things progress any farther. It doesn’t have anything to do with damaging the tissue in the throat, necessarily. It is a built-in warning that comes as the result of thousands of generations of individuals, human and pre-human, suffering near death or death and passing on the knowledge gained through our communal experience as recorded in our DNA. It is a system that is both blunt and nuanced but which creates complexity of results that truly resist complete translation to sensible language. There are fractals at all levels of human behavior and anatomy that record the innumerable experiences of every individual that contributed to the strand. Our inability to understand does not make it any less beautiful or any less functional.

I am sure this doesn’t come close to answering your objection to my original post. Thank you for indulging my loopy thinking.

You can’t provide it because there is nothing dangerous or harmful about it. Pain works as an early warning system because it makes us involuntarily draw away, but that isn’t an indicator that everything that hurts is or ever was dangerous or harmful. Some things that hurt, sometimes a great deal, are none-the-less good and you should engage in them when appropriate. I had bladder cancer. It’s a painless cancer. But the surgery to remove it sure as hell wasn’t painless; it was painful as hell. Moreso due to my CNS condition, but very painful for most everyone. Can I assume you think that surgery was harmful, and I was a fool to undergo it voluntarily because pain is an indicator that something is bad and should not be done? Or is there, JUST MAYBE, some reasoning involved? Not everything painful is harmful. It’s just not. Nor is what you are referring to as common sense any kind of accurate indicator of truth.

efdisaster said “I hesitate to do this, because it is potentially dangerous…” I asked what that danger was, because I am aware there isn’t one. You replied with “Common sense would suggest that it would not hurt otherwise.” You’re mistaken. So unless you can tell me what this danger you and efdisaster believe is, please just admit that there is none and your common sense is not a good measure of what is true.


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