Hiccups are common alimentary ailment which all of us at some point or the other may have experienced in our life. They are troublesome and frustrating for both the patient as well as for the treating doctor.
Hiccup occurs due to involuntary spasm of respiratory muscles, both diaphragm and intercostal muscles with sudden interruption of inspiration by the closure of glottis. Contraction of glottis produces a typical “Hic sound”. There are many reasons for hiccups; it follows after rapid eating, overeating or due to excessive alcohol consumption. Some of the more serious causes include gastric distension, paralytic ileus, or after effect of anesthesia.
Can Hiccups Cause Chest Pain?
Hiccup can cause chest pain. Constant hiccups can irritate the chest muscles and this is one of the reasons for chest pain. The condition is also called costochondritis. There is tenderness on pressing the chest area. Even when there is esophageal reflux, patient may complain of pain in chest together with hiccups. In esophageal reflux, the food is thrown back into the food pipe.
Hiatus hernia is another possible cause for pain in chest together with hiccups. In hiatus hernia, a small portion of stomach slips into the space in chest cavity between the two diaphragms.Besides chest pain, the patient may also complain of burning sensation or heaviness in the chest.
Hiccup occurs when the Vagus nerve which supplies the diaphragm irritates it. One may miss persistent hiccups and chest pain to be a cause for heart related ailment. For this reason whenever there is chest pain associated with hiccups, you should not neglect it and consult your doctor to rule out any cardiac cause.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Hiccups
There are many home remedies for hiccups. They are both effective as well as economic. The intention of any treatment for hiccups is to bring back the diaphragm in sync with the lungs. The other way is to distract the person from hiccuping.
- Insert your index finger in the ears for about 15 seconds. This may stop the nerve sensitivity which controls the impulse of hiccups. Branches of vagus nerve also supply the chest muscles.
- Keep a piece of ice in the mouth. The change in temperature may shut down the hiccup response.
- Gulp mouthful of water. This will interrupt the hiccuping cycle. It will also calm the nerves. Instead of gulping, the parson may also do gargling.
- Sticking the tongue out can also stop hiccups.
- Another simple method is to tickle the roof of the mouth with cotton swab.
- Chew a piece of fresh ginger. You may not like the pungent taste, but it is an effective remedy for hiccups.
- Peanut butter is good home remedy for alleviating hiccups. Children will always prefer to eat foods that they are familiar with.
- Eat a cupful of yogurt slowly. You can add a pinch of salt in it. Yogurt is an effective home remedy for reducing hiccups.
- If hiccup is associated with chest pain, you should always rule out cardiac cause first, as neglecting it may be life threatening. Consult your doctor as soon as possible. After examination and performing ECG test, the doctor may be able to tell you if the reason is cardiac cause.
- To relieve chest pain and if other major illnesses are ruled out, you may apply hot fomentation on the chest area. This will help to relieve pain as well.