Story by: Norton Children's on July 15, 2016
When kids get brain freeze, that ice cream-induced headache can quickly bring an otherwise happy child to tears and take the fun out of enjoying a cold treat on a hot day.
What causes brain freeze?
“A brain freeze is a short-term headache caused when ingesting cold substances,” said Brian Plato, D.O., neurologist and headache specialist with Norton Neuroscience Institute’s Headache & Concussion Center. “The sensation is caused when there is an overload to the trigeminal nerves, which then send a signal back to the brain — triggering a headache.”
And it all goes back to our prehistoric days. Researchers believe brain freeze is a sort of defense mechanism in which the body wants to keep the brain warm so that it can function properly.
Brain freeze in kids or adults may feel incredibly painful; however, it is not dangerous.
Here are some tips to prevent brain freeze:
If your child is hot and can’t help but suck down that slushy, here are some tips for brain freeze relief:
Dr. Plato says brain freeze in kids or adults usually lasts about a minute and almost never lasts more than 5 minutes. Individuals who get migraines are most susceptible to this type of headache.
You or your child may feel pain, but remember it’s not dangerous and doesn’t mean that anything is wrong in the body.