Kristen, age 24, has about four gallons of ice cream in her freezer at home. She can't get enough -- but like many ice cream lovers, she knows the pleasure comes with pain. Rocky road, mint chocolate chip, butter pecan, or plain vanilla, it all has the power to stop you in your tracks.
"Sometimes I eat ice cream a little too fast, and I get that sharp pain in my head, where you feel like your head's kind of going to explode," she says. "Why does this happen? Why do I always get these ice cream headaches?"
During an "Ask Dr. Oz" segment on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Dr. Oz shared the science behind brain freeze along with some timeless advice to curb it.
He starts by polling the audience: What causes brain freeze?
B. Immune system
C. Cold temperature and lactic acid
D. Dilation of arteries
The answer: Dilation of arteries. "When you eat ice cream, it actually stimulates the back of your mouth because it's cold," Dr. Oz explains. "And the arteries spasm. But after they close down, they relax. And that lets too much blood to your brain and you get the headache."
The way to treat brain freeze, Dr. Oz says, is to hold your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This keeps your mouth warmer, he says. "So it prevents those arteries from spasming then relaxing," Dr. Oz says.
If you're one of the 30 percent of people who experience ice cream headaches, try out this trick between bites -- and hopefully, you'll avoid the big chill.