Brain Freeze: What It Is, Symptoms, Treatment

Brain freeze also referred to as ice cream brain or ice cream headache is an unpleasant feeling of intense pain felt in the brain.  It is a sensation that causes a severe headache for a short period which could last from seconds to minutes. This commonly occurs when you eat or drink something cold, usually ice cream or ice water. Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is the medical term for brain freeze. And your doctor may refer to the sensation as a cold-induced headache.

Brain freeze is a reaction that happens in the sphenopalatine ganglion nerves [1], these are a group of nerves close to the trigeminal nerve in the brain. The sphenopalatine ganglion nerves are located behind them together with the nerves that cause headache pain. These nerves are made very sensitive to pain, to help protect the brain. Continue reading to find out more about brain freeze, including its symptoms, causes and ways to treat it.

Symptoms of Brain Freeze

Major symptoms of brain freeze include a sharp and sudden pain felt in the front of the head. This can feel like a banging ache or a sharp pain. It is a reaction to the cold substance you are consuming. It is a short-term pain that could last from a few seconds to at most two minutes. This is relative to the amount of cold liquid or food you have taken and how fast you consumed it.