The scoop on ice cream headaches


Ice Cream Dessert: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On these steamy July days, cold foods and drinks taste great. But have you ever eaten your ice cream cone or drank your slushie so fast that it made your “brain freeze”?

The brief headache we sometimes get while eating or drinking cold substances is referred to as a brain freeze, ice cream headache, freezie, and frozen brain syndrome. And its occurrence can in fact be described scientifically.


There are varying explanations for the ice cream headache, but most sources agree that cold stimulation of the roof of the mouth and/or the throat stimulates the high concentration of nerves in the area. This results in dilation of blood vessels in the brain, which in turn causes an acute headache.


The pain begins within seconds after the cold item is consumed and reaches its peak after 30-60 seconds. Occasionally these headaches last for 2-5 minutes.

Other Interesting Brain Freeze Facts

Ice cream headaches are more likely to occur in the summer than in the winter.

Some studies have found that people who are more susceptible to migraines are also more likely to get ice cream headaches. One study found that an ice cream headache occurred in 93 percent of regular migraine sufferers, but in only 31 percent of the control group. However, other studies have found that migraine suffers are not more likely to get ice cream headaches.

Possible Solution

The most interesting solution I found was to put your tongue on the roof of your mouth to quickly warm the area. I’m not sure how well it works. I’ll have to try it the next time my brain freezes.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Joe's picture
Joe says:

When I get "brain freeze" from my grape Mr. Misty, the tongue on the roof of the mouth trick seems to work best. Although I also try to breathe hot air out through my mouth too. That probably does nothing, but the pain is so intense that anything I can think of to get rid of them I'll do. The relief when it is over is possibly one of the greatest moments ever. Then, of course, I drink more Mr. Misty.

posted on Sat, 07/29/2006 - 8:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i hate brain freezes!!!!!!!

posted on Sun, 07/30/2006 - 10:46am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

aka Mr. Misty Headache!!!!!!!

posted on Sun, 07/30/2006 - 3:31pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

brain freezes are caused by applying a very cold object or liquid against the roof of your mouth. The thin barrier of skin quickly penetrates into your head where brain worms get scared and wiggle as fast as they can to the middle of your brain causing it to hurt. Ha, ha!

posted on Sun, 07/30/2006 - 3:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I hate brane freezess becouse they make you feel cold and its just like you haave just freezed

posted on Sun, 07/30/2006 - 3:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Yeah it sucks!

posted on Sun, 07/30/2006 - 3:58pm
Elisabeth's picture
Elisabeth says:

Who would have thought about a third of the population is at risk of getting an “ice cream headache?” The British Medical Journal created a quick interactive program briefly describing how brain freezes operate.

posted on Sun, 09/10/2006 - 8:36pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I could care less about brain frezzes. Beccause its ICE CREAM. HALELUIAH

posted on Fri, 08/03/2007 - 1:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I have no idea if it's true or not but I was told by some random person that brain freeze is cuz the slush,ice cream, or other frozen product is on your teeth too long and it causes the headaces from the nerves in your teeth getting cold, but I have no idea.

posted on Tue, 01/20/2009 - 1:34am
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

liza, you may want to check this one. while it's true that it's been a while, it doesn't seem to be appropriate to allow any postings that are like the one where somebody says they like porn. it also has nothing to do with the subject of ice cream headaches.

as for ice cream headaches, isn't the best prevention the following: try not to eat too fast? i think that works with not just cold food but also hot food.

posted on Tue, 01/20/2009 - 3:49pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:


I deleted the offending comment. (Actually, I think it reflected poorly on "Billy," not Buzz, but, as you say, his comment wasn't adding much to the conversation, his interest in porn was off-topic, and he wasn't an active user of the website.)

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

posted on Tue, 01/20/2009 - 4:56pm
Candace's picture
Candace says:

y would a person be more likely to get a brain freez in the summer rather then in the winter?

posted on Wed, 03/11/2009 - 11:07pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Who really discored the brain frezze? if there is no answer to that do you all know a scientist who studied it closely?

posted on Thu, 12/17/2009 - 9:08pm
Jessica Dempsey! =]'s picture
Jessica Dempsey! =] says:

Lol, Im doing a science fair project about brain freeze. I've seen on t.v. that another way of curing brain freeze is to place you thumb up against the top of you mouth and keep it there for a while until the brain freeze subsides. It actually works!!!

posted on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 4:48pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options