What Exactly is a Brain Freeze?

What exactly is a brain freeze and how do I get rid of the darn thing? Today, on the blog.


The smell of sunscreen and charcoal in the air means that summer is finally here, shepherding in the familiar rites of the season—sunburns, hot dogs and another chance to finally resolve the Blizzard vs. McFlurry debate once-and-for-all.

Be careful, though, how quickly you devour that Blizzard or McFlurry. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk for an epic red-hot, nitrate-fueled episode of brain freeze.

Like the reasons behind why your friend Steve always forgets to bring beer to your Fourth of July barbeque, science hasn’t been able to pinpoint exactly why brain freeze occurs. The leading theory is that suddenly exposing your head to anything super cold—food, drink or even a dunk tank—causes the blood vessels around your brain to suddenly constrict in an attempt to maintain warm blood around your precious gray matter. This, in turn, creates a shot of pain that subsides as your body adjusts to the surrounding temperature and your blood vessels relax.

As long as it dissipates quickly, brain freeze isn’t harmful. It’s considered so benign, in fact, that no one is interested in funding any studies on it (which is another reason why its cause is unknown). Even if you were actually lowering the thermostat on your brain, you’d just be mimicking an advanced neurosurgical technique used by neurosurgeons.

If brain freeze is really problematic for you, simply eat or drink the cold stuff more slowly . And save the speed eating for the Nathan’s Fourth of July hot-dog eating contest.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question—especially when it comes to your body, your health or your hygiene. Send us the things that you’ve always wondered about to bm@dollarshaveclub.com.