We’ve all had that terrible pain in the head when we eat ice cream or drink a cold drink too fast. What exactly causes that pain? Is there any way to prevent it? The SciShow investigates.
Brain freeze, or ice-cream headache, is a form of short-term cranial pain that is linked to the consumption of cold food or drink. It happens when something very cold touches the roof of the mouth, resulting in the rapid contraction of blood vessels where the internal carotid artery and anterior cerebral artery meet. In response to the contraction, the brain quickly sends blood to rewarm the area, causing blood vessels to swell. This rapid constriction and swelling triggers pain receptors in the outer cover of the brain. In other words, ouch!