Ask Dr. Universe: Why do we get brain freezes?

Dr-Universe-230VANCOUVER, Wash. – You’re enjoying some ice cream, when suddenly you feel a pain in your head that hurts a whole lot. It’s like it came out of nowhere, and in a matter of seconds, it’s gone.

These instant headaches, or brain freezes, often strike when we eat or drink something cold. And like you, some scientists are curious about why brain freezes happen. So they’re testing out some different ideas.

That’s what I found out from my friend Bill Griesar, a brain scientist at Washington State University.

One theory is that when you eat or drink something cold, it triggers a change in the blood vessels lining your mouth and throat.

Read all of this answer from Dr. Universe at


A service of Washington State University, Ask Dr. Universe answers some of the most interesting, tough and smart questions from curious kids all around the world.