Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia – Wildest Word of the Day

Flickr photo by Jayel Aheram

Flickr photo by Jayel Aheram

Also known as “Brain Freeze” (a term first used in published form in 1991), sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is the scientific term meaning nerve pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion.

According to Wikipedia, this is considered a misnomer because the pain is actually thought to be caused by the trigeminal nerves. The rapid cooling of the blood vessels in the sinuses causes the trigeminal nerves to react and send signals to the brain indicating that the pain is coming from the forehead, which in turn causes “ice cream headache” or brain freeze. This same mechanism is thought to cause the “auras” associated with migraines.

I occasionally get migraines with aura, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had a good brain freeze. I’ll have to head over to the local 7-Eleven and suck down a Slurpee on the next hot July day and see what happens. I can’t wait to see the look on the clerk’s face when I grab my forehead in pain and yell, “Help, I’m having an attack of sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia!”

Let me know in the comments about your favorite brain freeze incident. I’m sure there are some pretty wild stories out there.

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