What Causes Painful Hiccups after Spine Surgery?

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 17, 2014

hiccupsHiccups are no fun. Almost everyone has experienced a bout of hiccups in the past. They’re annoying and can even be painful even in a perfectly healthy person. Getting painful hiccups after a spine surgery is a whole different matter. Today’s blog is a response to a reader question:

“I’ve had painful hiccups for a week after my low back surgery. What’s causing them and how do I get them to go away?”

That is our topic of discussion today – hiccups – what causes them, and should you be concerned if you experience painful hiccups after spine surgery?

Causes of Hiccups

When a spasm causes the diaphragm to contract, a hiccup is the result. Hiccups can occur for a number of reasons during the course of a normal day. Some common hiccup causes include:

  • Eating too quickly
  • Drinking excess amounts of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Excitement or stress

Hiccups caused by these factors are generally short lived and go away on their own after a few minutes or hours. Other forms of hiccups that last for days or weeks may be indicative of an underlying condition. These long-lasting hiccups are known as persistent or intractable hiccups. They can be caused by nerve irritation, anesthesia, surgery, and other factors.

Hiccup Cures

While short-term hiccups can be cured with rest, time, and holding your breath, hiccups that do not resolve after several days or weeks may require additional treatment of an underlying issue. Treatment for long-term hiccups depends on the root cause, and can range from acupuncture to surgical correction.

If you are having painful bouts of hiccups after your spine surgery, contact your surgeon’s office to talk about your issue and discuss pain relief and treatment options. It’s not worth your pain to tough it out. Contact your healthcare provider to get better.


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