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May 11, 2014

Cure Hiccups by Pulling on the Tongue

There are many different ways to treat hiccups (otherwise known as singultus). Some of the more bizarre ways of treating hiccups include rectal massage and tongue pulling.

Tongue pulling treatment is most commonly attributed to Sir William Osler (1849-1919). However, origins of tongue pulling can be found in much earlier French references including Jean Laborde (1830-1903), Jean Viaud (1862-1946), and Raphaël Lépine (1840-1919).

It is hypothesized to work by stimulating the vagus nerve thereby easing the diaphragmatic spasms.

Reference:
Treatment of singultus by traction on the tongue: an eponym revised. J Hist Neurosci. 2013;22(2):183-90. doi: 10.1080/0964704X.2012.728389.

[Stimulation of the root of the tongue can cure hiccup. 20 years of "unscientific" experience supports the thesis]. Lakartidningen. 1998 Oct 7;95(41):4477-9.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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