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Why do we get brain freeze, and how can we stop it?

Why Do We Get Brain Freezes?

Brain freeze is so serious it has a scientific name: sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. You drink or eat something cold very fast and BOOM, your head feels like someone's trying to blow it up with their psychic powers.

So, why the heck do we get those awful brain freezes? Well, your mouth is highly vascularized, meaning there's a lot of important blood flow going through there. It makes sense since it's right there between your head and neck. Plus, two super important arteries are right in the back of your throat: the internal carotid artery, which is what gets blood to your brain, and the anterior cerebral artery, which sits right where your brain tissue starts.

So right there, in the back of your throat, is where your brain's getting all the stuff that's keeping it alive. And it's a pretty soft, vulnerable part of you.

When you eat something cold really quickly, all of a sudden the temperature in that part of your body drops. FAST. And those arteries contract really quickly, triggering receptors in your meninges, which is your brain's outer covering.

Your brain is basically alerting you to the fact that it thinks you're suddenly freezing it to death, even though it's just one spot on your body that's cold.

Neuroscientists actually really love to study brain freeze because it's the only controllable headache we have. They can't make someone have a migraine, but they can give them brain freeze then study what's happening in their brain and body and use that to treat other, more serious types of headaches.

By the way, if you've got brain freeze, the best thing you can do to get rid of it is to curl your tongue up into the back roof part of your mouth- that's that spongey bit that's the border to the arteries.

Your tongue will still be body temperature and you can use it to equal things out quickly.

Join the discussion

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loanofficerjon April 27 2014 at 2:16 PM

this is news?

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1 reply
sindfetish loanofficerjon April 27 2014 at 2:28 PM

I know...I feel silly also for even CLICKING here....

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Chillie Willie April 27 2014 at 2:42 PM

The times I recall having 'brain freeze' it was caused by a Slurpee or ICEE.

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1 reply
gonro2 Chillie Willie April 27 2014 at 4:15 PM

Or a frozen Margarita

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amcd1027 April 27 2014 at 8:10 PM

Simple solution. Just take a drink of water or any liquid. Even if it is cold it will work almost instantly.

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abourge458 April 27 2014 at 10:59 AM

I just always keep warm tea on the table if I'm eating ice cream. Even warm water works.
A big gulp if I feel the pain coming on. .....Three to five seconds...All gone.

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zigzigsputnik April 27 2014 at 10:59 AM

You can always wait 20 seconds.

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dmc1943 April 27 2014 at 10:58 AM

Brain freeze with dentures is a real bummer! LOL

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WatergirlHawaii April 27 2014 at 10:51 AM

I'm just happy they're using the info to help those who suffer headaches!

Personally, I rub my thumb (or warm spoon) on the roof of my mouth to warm it; a cold tongue doesn't do the job quickly enough for me!

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smcmahon1949 April 27 2014 at 10:46 AM

a very interesting fact thank you for sharing

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dickn2000b April 27 2014 at 12:13 PM

Penis freeze has always been my problem. It causes the Turtle Reflex.

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moeelmore April 27 2014 at 11:36 AM

Take a sip of room teperature water or hot coffe/tea. Works fast and effectively.

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2 replies
Daddy moeelmore April 27 2014 at 11:54 AM

Great idea. Thanks.

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dickn2000b moeelmore April 27 2014 at 12:15 PM

What if you don't have access to those liquids? BTW the word you butchered is "TEMPERATURE."

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