8 Fun Facts About Brain Freeze (and Even Funnier Pictures)

With summer and ice cream season around the corner, we thought we’d arm you with some fun facts about a not-so-fun condition: BRAIN FREEZE! (Or, as my kids call it, FREEZE BRAIN!)

picture of kid with brain freeze

#1 – “Brain Freeze” goes by other names — ice cream headache, cold rush, cranium cramp and OMG MAKE IT STOP!


#2 – Its scientific name is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, which literally means “pain of the nerve located on the roof of your mouth,” the specific neural structure being the sphenopalatine ganglion (try saying THAT five times fast).



#3 – No one knows for sure what causes it.  Perhaps when severe cold hits the nerve on the roof of the mouth, it causes referred pain — which means the pain occurs in one place in the body, but is felt elsewhere (not the kind of referral you want).



#4 – Or maybe when very cold food temporarily alters blood flow to the brain, it causes localized pressure and a brief headache.



#5 – Others believe it’s a defense mechanism to protect the brain from temperature fluctuations and keep it warm (so… instead of “brain freeze,” it’s “brain warming”…?)



#6 – One thing we know for sure, you do NOT get brain freeze from doing this.


#7 – 7-Eleven claims to have coined the term “brain freeze” — which makes sense, considering Slurpees and similar frozen drinks are the worst culprits of brain freezes.


#8 – To get rid of a brain freeze, try pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  Or press your thumb on the roof of your mouth to warm it.  Which is always an attractive look.
Or, better yet, just drink water next time.

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