Baltimore Sun

Inducing a ‘brain freeze’ can interrupt a migraine attack

- By Joe Graedon, M.S., and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D. In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Send questions to them via www. peoplespha­

Q: I’ve been experienci­ng migraines for years and years, with little help from medication­s.

Last week, I was at the drugstore to pick up a prescripti­on when I developed one of the typical precursors to my migraines. After receiving my meds at the pharmacy counter, I stopped at the ice cream counter on the way out. I got a scoop of orange sherbet, hoping that it might somehow help. Well, wouldn’t you know, within 10 minutes of having my cold dessert, my headache was almost gone.

Today, sitting at my desk at home, I started to feel the tension on my head and neck that’s a migraine warning. This time, I was prepared! I skipped to the kitchen, where I have stocked up on orange sherbet, and literally doused my headache out with a couple of cold scoops. It’s a nice treat! A: Eleven years ago, we first heard from a reader with weather-related migraine headaches:

“After popping pain pills all day with no relief, why does eating spoonfuls of chocolate peanut butter ice cream take the pain right away?” Since then, we have heard from many others that inducing “brain freeze” (sphenopala­tine ganglioneu­ralgia) can often interrupt a migraine attack.

Researcher­s have discovered that TRP (transient receptor potential) channels on the nerves are involved in the developmen­t of migraine pain (Neuroscien­ce Letters,

Jan. 18, 2022). TRP channels are important for sensing temperatur­e.

Apparently, activating them with cold early in the process leading to a migraine may help to reverse it for some people.

Q: After I caught a head cold while traveling, my doctor told me to take echinacea the day before getting on a plane, the day on the plane and for one day afterward. I’ve followed this advice for years and never caught a cold on an airplane since. A:

We are told that the air filtration systems on airplanes is very good.

That said, traveling can be stressful. You also come in contact with lots of people who might be shedding viruses.

Echinacea is a popular herbal treatment that has antiviral activity. It may also help stimulate the immune system to help fight off cold or flu infections.

There is a potential risk of interactio­ns with prescripti­on medication­s such as amiodarone, carbamazep­ine, felodipine, methotrexa­te and sildenafil.

Always check with a physician and pharmacist

to avoid dangerous combinatio­ns.

Q: A friend told us about topical castor oil for pain relief. My husband thought he’d need a knee replacemen­t soon, but once he started applying castor oil daily, his joint is oiled up and ready to use. I have told friends, who used it on their foot or wrist. When my arthritis is acting up, I use it on my hip. It’s really helpful. A:

Readers of this column have been telling us for years that topical applicatio­n of castor oil could be beneficial against arthritis pain. The famed Christian mystic Edgar Cayce promoted the use of castor oil “packs.” He used it for fungal infections, inflammati­on and wound healing.

The active ingredient, ricinoleic acid, has been shown to have some anti-inflammato­ry activity in animal research (European Journal of Pharmacolo­gy, Oct. 27, 2000).

 ?? ?? Readers have written in to say a cold dessert like ice cream can help halt a migraine attack. DREAMSTIME
Readers have written in to say a cold dessert like ice cream can help halt a migraine attack. DREAMSTIME

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