preventing icecream headaches

-- Last Updated: Dec-25-06 11:51 PM EST --

In 50 F water, 40 F air, is there a good way to prevent the ice cream headaches while rolling?

Here's some background.

For the first time yesterday I got that pain in the front of the head and between the eyes from rolling in cold water. Really painful, especially if I go twice quick in a row. I quit after about 5 plus a re-enter and roll, yow on the rr!

I was wearing a Henderson 5 mm full hood with a visor. Not that much forehead coverage. No goggles. 50 F water, 40 F air.

I never got the pain before, rolling in 50 F water, 60 F air, sometimes with a thin scull cap, always with smim goggles.

My guess is the cold air was the main difference. My face probably was already cold.

I'm not going back to goggles, but wondering if that helped. Seems to be a forehead and face phenomenon. Wonder if a standard dive hood with a little more forehead coverage would have helped too.

I know, I can stick to side scull practice this time of year and use that to cool off when necessary. That's what I did, actually. Wondering if there's a way though to continue to rolling in these conditions.

Paul S.

your forehead. You need a better hood…

Goggles for practice in frigid water
For water temp below 50 deg. I wear a 3mm dive cap with chin strap plus dive mask. The mask protects the area between the eyes, above the eyes, and the nose–which means the sinuses are protected. I’ve never gotten an ice cream headache with this set-up.

Got it.
Cover the forehead and face as much as I can.


Paul S.

What works for me…
is to lean over and quickly dip my face under water (1/2 second) then come back up. It’s painful at first but but after doing that a few times I’ll go ahead and do a roll and instead of feeling pain it only feels cold.

I don’t know if that makes sense but it works for me.


Makes sense
I noticed the last few times I rolled that the first roll always felt extremely cold (water temps in the 40s). Subsequent rolls didn’t have the shock factor, so the “real” physical impact turned out to be not so bad. Of course, if I kept doing enough of them, the real physical chilling would set in. It’s the difference between that sudden “GEEZ IT’S COLD” whammy and the more gradual “I’d better quit now” chilldown.

If You Humm…
it fixes the headache too…


PS. Yeah, you’re way overplaying the whole roll thing.

Better today.
I pulled my hood down over my forehead more today. It did help. I’m sure the large one-piece goggles would have helped to, but I didn’t what to use them.


Paul S.

I know, I know
"PS. Yeah, you’re way overplaying the whole roll thing."

What’s that advice you gave yesterday though? Something about, no one’s making your read it?

Besides, the humming is going to work great for someone, and they’re going to thank me for bringing up the subject. I just know it.

Paul S.

Most of the ice cream headaches are vagal nerve related (at least that’s what we think) . The suggestion of leaning forward and dunking your head might prevent that as suggested since it is a vagal reflex. If the increased covering doesn’t always work, try bending and leaning forward or bearing down like going to the bathroom. Everytime my kids get a real ice cream headache, i get them to bear down and it works. It’s all about nerve reflexes sort of. It’s also partly what causes people’s heart to nearly stop beating on severe cold immersion. Give the bearing down a try if the clothing doesn’t work all the time.


Silicone grease

– Last Updated: Dec-31-06 12:07 AM EST –

You might want to apply Silcone grease to you facial area before you go out in colder water temps. It is available most dive shops. In theory it seals your facial pores, which helps dampen the cold shock when you hit the water.

I cannot speak to the product available from Lowes that is mentioned below. I do not have any experience with it. This material is normally available through scuba diving shops. It is available in relatively small containers (1/4 to 2 oz.). It is a silicone based grease, (not petro) and does not attack neoprene, so it should be fine around latex as long as you don't apply it directly to a gasket ;-).

Plumber’s silicone grease
I bought some of this at Lowe’s a few days ago. It says it contains no petroleum products. Is this the same stuff as what you’re talking about? I want to use it to avoid chafing from my neck gasket.