Hiccups are produced due to involuntary contraction of diaphragm. This contraction suddenly closes the vocal cords which produces a ‘Hic’ sound. Diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest from abdomen. This muscle has vital role in breathing. Hiccups are more of a nuisance than anything else. But when hiccups are persistent for a long period of time, they can frustrate and exhaust the patient. Hiccup actually is a symptom of an underlying cause. It can be as simple as drinking carbonated drinks to more annoying emotional stress. However, often some people may experience hiccups even when they touch of press certain part of the body, especially the ear or chin.Whenever hiccups occur for prolonged period of time, it can cause interference in eating, sleeping, and speaking. Hence you need to take remedial measure fo this troublesome condition.
Causes of Hiccups When You Touch Your Chin:
There are many reasons that are responsible for prolonged hiccups for many hours. For example you may get hiccups after drinking carbonated drinks, after eating too much spicy food, swallowing air after sucking a candy. Stress, anger and emotional excitement are other frequent causes of hiccups.
A cause for hiccups for long duration is something to do with nerve irritation.The vagus and phrenic nerve carries messages to diaphragm muscles. Any type of irritation to this nerve can cause hiccups. Although irritation to the eardrum or touching the eardrum is common cause to produce hiccups, hiccups from touching the chin is not much described in medical literature.
However, when it occurs it is caused due to irritation to the mental nerve. Mental nerve is a sensory nerve that provides sensation to the skin of the chin and lower lip. It arises as a branch from the trigeminal nerve. While the phrenic nerve originates from the spinal tract, the mental nerve is a branch of cranial nerve.
The nucleus of both these nerve are interlinked near the chin. Hence any irritation to the mental nerve can irritate the vagus and phrenic nerve to cause contraction of diaphragm and resultant hiccups.
Usually hiccups due to touching your chin go away on its own without any treatment. It is often a temporary phenomenon. The other best way is to avoid touching the chin or putting pressure on the chin once you know that the efferent and afferent nerve of the chin gets irritated. Diverting your attention such as holding your breath for few seconds, drinking sips of cold water, using other alternative medicines such as homeopathy has been found to be useful in treatment of hiccups.