Now that the summer months are here, it’s time to enjoy some wonderful frozen treats….but what about the brain freeze and WHY do our favorite desserts hurt us in the first place?

What is Brain Freeze?


Brain freeze, also known as an ice-cream headache or cold-stimulus headache has the very long scientific name of sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, or nerve pain in the roof of the mouth . It is a kind of short-term headache typically linked to the rapid consumption of ice-cream, ice pops, or very cold drinks.

Brain freeze occurs when something extremely cold touches the upper-palate (roof of the mouth). It normally happens when the weather is very hot, and the individual consumes something too fast.

A Doctor’s Take…

Doctors believe it has to do with the extreme cold and then the body reacting in a protective way.  One of the theories is that there’s extra blood flow to the brain and that increases the pressure in the brain and that is what gives you the headache.

Scientists believe that the pain isn’t directly in the brain, but is likely a result of discomfort in the face which is felt in the lining of the brain.  Because of the complexity of the brain and nervous system, sometimes we can think we feel pain somewhere but the actual source is in another location.  For example, people will say they have shoulder pain when actually they’re having a heart attack.

According to a 2012 study, researchers found that the pain was brought about when blood rushed to the brain after subjects drank ice water quickly, which they monitored through an ultrasound test. The pressure of the sudden blood flow is likely the culprit of the migraine-like pain we experience when eating cold foods quickly.




Sip warm water to constrict the arteries in your head again.

Whew! That was easy, although maybe not the most wonderful add on to a delicious ice cream cone.


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