Hiccups are a natural reflex of the body, but they can also be quite annoying and lead to many complications. Fortunately, there are several ways you can cure hiccups and stop them from interfering with your day.
Causes of Hiccups
Hiccups happen when your diaphragm muscle goes into a spasm, causing you to inhale suddenly and causing a distinctive sound. Common causes include drinking too quickly or eating too fast.
Lifestyle factors that may cause hiccups to include:
- Eating too much or too quickly
- Eating spicy foods
- Being stressed or emotionally excited
- Drinking alcohol
- Exposure to rapid changes in temperature
Getting rid of hiccups
These tips are meant for short bouts of hiccups. If you have chronic hiccups that last for more than 48 hours, talk with your doctor. This may be a sign of an underlying condition requiring treatment.
Breathing and posture techniques
Sometimes, a simple change in your breathing or posture can relax your diaphragm.
- Practice measured breathing. Disrupt your respiratory system with slow, measured breathing. Breathe in for a count of five and out for a count of five.
- Hold your breath. Inhale a large gulp of air and hold it for about 10 to 20 seconds, then breathe out slowly. Repeat as necessary.
- Breathe into a paper bag. Place a paper lunch bag over your mouth and nose. Slowly breathe in and out, deflating and inflating the bag. Never use a plastic bag.
- Hug your knees. Sit down in a comfortable place. Bring your knees to your chest and hold them there for two minutes.
- Compress your chest. Lean or bend forward to compress your chest, which puts pressure on your diaphragm.
- Use the Valsalva maneuver. To do this maneuver, try to exhale while pinching your nose and keeping your mouth closed.
Pressure points are areas of your body that are particularly sensitive to pressure. Applying pressure to these points with your hands may help to relax your diaphragm or stimulate your vagus or phrenic nerves.
- Pull-on your tongue. Pulling on your tongue stimulates the nerves and muscles in your throat. Grab the tip of your tongue and gently pull it forward once or twice.
- Press on your diaphragm. Your diaphragm separates your abdomen from your lungs. Use your hand to apply pressure to the area just below the end of your sternum.
- Squeeze your nose closed while swallowing water.
- Squeeze your palm. Use your thumb to apply pressure to the palm of your other hand.
- Massage your carotid artery. You have a carotid artery on both sides of your neck. It’s what you feel when you check your pulse by touching your neck. Lie down, turn your head to the left, and massage the artery on the right side in a circular motion for 5 to 10 seconds.
These tips are meant for short bouts of hiccups. If you have a chronic hiccup that lasts for more than 48 hours, talk with your doctor. This may be a sign of an underlying condition requiring treatment. The Valsalva maneuver can help to relax your diaphragm or stimulate your vagus or phrenic nerves. Eating certain things may also help promote the nerves and muscles in your throat. Other treatments include rectal and rectal massage.
Now You Know