brainfreeze.jpgSeveral days ago when I was walking back to my car from class I decided to stop and grab a small cone from the creamery. I was really hungry so I ripped into it a little too quickly and was rewarded a minute later with that familiar cold pain behind my face. While I looked on at my cone, wary of another uncomfortable experience I got the idea for this week's blog post.

While its a sensation I cannot remember not knowing, I never actually understood what caused brain freeze although I assumed It had something to do with nerves. I did some research and it turn out I was in the ballpark. Scientists believe that when we introduce something very cold into our bodies' very quickly, it is akin to putting a very cold glass pan into very hot water. While glass often cannot handle the stress and shatters, our oral cavities are more durable. That is not to say that this does not create a stress of sorts on our mouths.

When we have been eating something that is not extremely cold the blood vessels in our mouths are typically dilated however when cold is introduced, constriction occurs which is thought to irritate a very specific group of nerves that originates in the soft pallet. The pallet is connected to a very complicated array of nerves that stretches behind the eyes and forehead.

What scientists find puzzling about this is that the place where the pain comes from, the pallet is not where the pain is focused. This is an example of radiating pain and is attributed to a way our nervous systems were wired that scientists have yet to understand. People have reported radiating pain during heart attacks as well, feeling pain in arms, neck, even teeth.

While currently there is no cure for brain freeze it usually goes away within a minute and the consumption of something hot does by some accounts help.           




Like everyone else I hate brain freezes, it literally makes me want to stop eating whatever it is. Reading this blog has made me think what about the memory brain freezes we have. Just yesterday I asked someone what's the name of the building that helps you with your career. I really couldn't remember and I was so mad that I had such a obvious brain freeze. Why is it that we have stored memory but have a hard time expressing what we know? Even though I know not using stored information in a while causes these brain freezes, it's still frustrating!

I heard once that if you press your tongue to the roof of your mouth when you get brain freeze, it makes it go away so quickly. It works for me at least!

I have always wondered what brain freeze actually is! Thanks for posting this!

This is interesting...I wrote about brain freezes last year about brain freezes. It talks about how people react to brain freezes at different outdoor temperature levels and discusses whether or not there is a brain freeze "gene."

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