The elders may remember the old cartoon of a character who could not stop his sobbing, who tried a thousand strategies, but all to no avail. He tried with fright, laughter, water and even consult several doctors, but there was no case, he always returned that inner sound that tormented him.
According to popular wisdom, when something like this happens, there is no need to waste time in the consultations: it will be enough to give the tortured a good scare with the sobs to eliminate them. But what does science say?
"The hiccups are caused by spasms of the diaphragm, the main respiratory muscle, which are transmitted to the vocal cords generating the typical noise," explains Diego Golombek, a biologist and researcher at Conicet.
As for the question whether these spasms can be inhibited with a shock to the person suffering, Golombek tells an old fable: "There is an old story of a soldier who wanted to heal the sobs of a colleague pointing his gun at him, who accidentally shot, not only ended with sobs but also with his life, "he jokes, and leaves the question of whether this is what gave rise to belief.
It's a matter of trying
However, he admits that neither the causes nor the alleged treatments for hiccups are clear, and that fear can activate the sympathetic (unconscious) nervous system and, in turn, alter the "orders" of the respiratory centers of the brain.
Most of the time, the hiccups originate from quite common causes: fast eating, stomach distension, drinking too much soda, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and even anxiety, among other factors.
For years, popular beliefs about measures to end hiccups add to creativity. It is recommended to take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 15 seconds, drink very cold water, chew ice and even kiss a wall!
Then a fright may also be the answer. As Golombek recommends, "it's a matter of trying."