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Q: What are hiccups technically ? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: What are hiccups technically ?
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: hush20-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 10 Apr 2002 11:23 PDT
Expires: 17 Apr 2002 11:23 PDT
Question ID: 28
Explain the biological phenomenon of "hiccups". What are they technically?
Subject: Re: What are hiccups technically ?
Answered By: var-ga on 10 Apr 2002 12:35 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hiccups (sometimes spelt hiccoughs, but always pronounced hiccups) are caused 
by sudden contractions of the diaphragm, the main muscle of breathing. The 
lungs hang inside the chest, a bit like sacks stretched up against the inside 
of the chest wall. When we breathe in, we don’t expand the lungs directly. The 
lungs expand because we increase the volume of the chest cavity and the lungs, 
because they are applied to the inside of the chest wall, expand with the rib 
cage. The main muscle of breathing is the diaphragm, which forms the bottom of 
the chest cavity and moves down, forcing the lungs to expand more. When you 
hiccup, your diaphragm suddenly twitches, and this forces air into the lungs. 
At the same time the glottis -a flappy bit at the top of your throat which is 
part of your voice box - suddenly closes. This sudden closing blocks off the 
air and causes the noise. 
Hiccups don’t start in the muscle of the diaphragm itself, but in the nerve 
that supplies the diaphragm: the phrenic nerve. It’s not uncommon for hiccups 
to start during eating, because the nerves supplying the stomach have links 
with the nerves of breathing, but hiccups can come on at any time. Most fits of 
hiccups last only a few minutes, but very rarely they go on for days.

The above information was taken from: 

Some more useful information can be found at:

Let me know if that was helpful information.
hush20-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: What are hiccups technically ?
From: micke-ga on 23 Apr 2002 07:59 PDT
The scientific name of hiccups is Singultus.

You find good information here:

At that page you also find references to 4 books that you can read
for further information on the subject.

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