Hiccups can be annoying, noisy, and embarrassing, especially if they persist for a relatively long time. To get rid of them, we must first understand what hiccups are.
Hiccups are involuntary contractions in your diaphragm, and more specifically, in your vocal cords. The spasm happens when you breathe in, and the opening located between your vocal cords contracts, which produces the "hic" sound. Hiccups can last from a few minutes to hours, and, in most cases, they are easy to get rid of.
Here are a few scientifically-proven methods that can help you get rid of them in an instant. If you haven’t heard of the ice cube trick, the Valsalva maneuver, or the lemon trick, we will cover all 3 and 3 more in this article.
Method 1. The Ice Cube Trick
Chiropractors swear by this method. Though this first trick may sound weird at first, it actually has a really cool scientific explanation behind it.
The goal of this trick is to temporarily interrupt the vagus nerve, which is responsible for diaphragm contractions. When you hiccup, it activates, so by blocking it for a short time, you might get rid of the annoying hiccups.
How to do it:
- Put one ice cube in the back of your neck where you can feel a protruding bone.
- Another ice cube should be placed 2 inches (5 cm) below your jaw.
- Hold for around 30 seconds and then release.
Method 2. The Lemon Trick
This next trick was tested in an experimental study published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the course of the experiment, 16 patients experiencing hiccups were asked to chew or eat an entire lemon wedge (including the bitters). Out of all the participants, 14 got rid of the hiccups in less than 1 minute.
Fun fact! This remedy is an old bartender trick, and the study was first suggested by a bartender.
So next time you have hiccups, just chew or eat on some lemon and they are likely to go away almost instantly.
Method 3. Sip On Some Water
Doctors believe that slowly sipping some water may get rid of your hiccups, as the water reduces the irritation in the diaphragm that caused the hiccups in the first place. Just make sure to drink ice cold water and drink it very slowly. Yes, it's that easy!
Method 4. Hold Your Breath
Holding your breath and counting up to a minute is another old, yet effective hiccup remedy. We know it may not feel too pleasant, but doctors assure that it’s the first method you should try.
The explanation behind this method is that by holding your breath, you’re allowing carbon dioxide to build up in your lungs, which can relax your diaphragm and get rid of the unpleasant contractions.
Method 5. Pull Up Your Knees to Your Chest
This yoga pose is also effective at relieving pressure from the diaphragm, thereby getting rid of the spasm. You can either do it sitting on the floor, on a couch or chair while sitting up.
Just hug your knees as close to your chest as you can while keeping your spine straight and hold this position for a few minutes. Don't forget to breathe in deeply and relax.
Method 6. The Valsalva maneuver
This term is a medical synonym for popping your ears. Research suggests that this can interrupt the hiccup reflex and proved to be very effective in the lab.
To perform this technique, simply pinch your nose and keep your mouth closed as you try to exhale for 15 seconds. You will feel a slight pressure in your ears, that’s normal, but don’t do it very forcefully and rather repeat a few times if it didn’t help the first time you tried it.
For even more hiccup remedies, read our article Natural Home Remedies to Fight Hiccups.
Disclaimer! If you experience persisting and strong hiccups for more than a few hours, contact your doctor or healthcare provider.