Hiccups are an interesting phenomenon that seem to mysteriously occur out of nowhere. One moment you are lounging on the couch watching TV, and the next you are involuntarily hiccuping. Hiccups are strange in that they do not have a physiological advantage or purpose. Sneezing or coughing, for example, are common bodily reflexes to encountering pathogens or bacteria.
What Are Hiccups?
Hiccups occur as a result of a sudden diaphragm contraction. The diaphragm sits directly below the lungs and it’s a primary component of breathing. Once it contracts quickly, air rushes into the lungs, where it gets stopped as the vocal cords close. That closure causes the “hic” sound. You may experience a subtle tightening in the throat, abdomen, or chest when you hiccup. Both the intensity and the rate of hiccups is different for each person.
Everyone experiences hiccups at some point in time, and they typically go away on their own. You only have to worry if they persist longer than 48 hours. You may have your own unique ways to get rid of hiccups, but do they always take care of the problem? Drinking water upside down or applying pressure to the temples may work for some and not others. The following natural remedies may be beneficial, but experiment with them to find a technique that works for you.
Natural Remedies To Get Rid Of Hiccups
Ice Your Hiccups Away
Ice packs are not solely for remedying sore joints or injuries. You can ice your hiccups away by applying an ice pack directly over the diaphragm, which sits just below the ribcage. Hold the ice pack just above your navel and only apply a subtle amount of pressure until the hiccups go away. Cooling the diaphragm helps to put an end to the spasms.
Sip Some Pickle Juice
There are actually surprising health benefits for people who drink pickle juice. It’s not everyone’s go-to beverage, but a little dill pickle juice may be the remedy that gets rid of your hiccups. Make sure it’s dill pickle juice, not sweet pickle juice. The sour flavor in your mouth actually interrupts the hiccup pattern, halting the signal to the vagus nerve that gets irritated and causes hiccups. If you don’t want to drink pickle juice, consider a sip of vinegar instead.
Pull Your Knees Into Your Chest
Take a minute and lay down on your back. Now, draw your knees into your chest to compress your chest and diaphragm. This position may put an end to the contractions that cause hiccups. If you don’t want to do that, you can fold forward from a standing position and hang in the stretch to compress your chest and halt spasms.
Stimulate The Vagus Nerve
Many researchers believe that irritation to the vagus nerve is the primary cause of hiccups. You have the ability to somewhat reset the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the stomach. Irritating the pharynx is a great way to get rid of hiccups. Essentially, you sip a glass of cold water, chew on a lemon, or eat a spoonful of raw honey mixed with water. These actions stimulate the vagus nerve.
If you want to get rid of hiccups, you have to be brave. Sipping a little hot sauce is a classic home remedy to get rid of hiccups. Ingesting hot sauce fires up the nervous system, causing a burning sensation on the tongue and in the nose and eyes. You create this discomfort to shift your body’s focus away from the hiccups, which makes them go away.
The Valsalva Maneuver
This maneuver increases the pressure in the throat, sinuses, and inner ear. To create this pressure, you have to blow air out of your lungs while blocking the nose and mouth. It sounds counterintuitive, but you essentially try to blow out and block the air’s exits. Close your mouth and pinch your nostrils to close them and breath out with force for 10-15 seconds. The pressure build up helps your hiccups vanish.
Stretch The Diaphragm
Spasms in the diaphragm cause hiccups, so it’s beneficial to stretch the muscle and relieve those spasms. The easiest diaphragm stretch is to stand or sit up straight and take a deep breath that fills your lungs and belly. Once you feel that they are full of air, hold the air in for as long as you can. When you need air, exhale slowly and see if the hiccups are gone. If hiccups continue, try this action a few more times.