Brain Freezes

Lauren F.

We all know the feeling. It’s a blistering hot, horrendously humid summer day, and all you want is something to cool down. An ice pop, ice cream, whatever. You’re enjoying your freezing-cold treat when it happens. Your head suddenly starts to hurt – you got a brain freeze!

WHY do brain freezes happen? Brain freezes start when something very cold (like a popsicle) presses against the roof of your mouth or the back of your throat. This triggers the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensory information to the brain from your face. When a part of your body gets very cold, blood is rushed to that area. This causes the blood vessels to dilate and contract rapidly, and the nerves send confusing signals to the brain, which gets interpreted as pain.

HOW do you stop brain freezes? Brain freezes go away eventually, but if you want them to go away immediately, just press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This makes it less cold, and the blood flows there less. Also, if you want to prevent brain freezes, just eat your ice cream/popsicle slowly.


The scientific term for a brain freeze is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

Some people don’t get brain freezes. In fact, studies show that people who experience migraines are more likely to experience them.

Some people also get brain freezes in their back, shoulders, or collarbone!

Despite the name, your brain does not actually change in temperature during a brain freeze.