Sunday, May 31, 2009

Did You Know?

I can't sneeze or hiccup.

Sneezing is caused by an irritation in the inside of your nose (i.e. a dust particle, swelling from an infection, cold air, pepper etc.) According to, "When the inside of your nose gets a tickle, a message is sent to a special part of your brain called the sneeze center. The sneeze center then sends a message to all the muscles that have to work together to create the amazingly complicated process that we call the sneeze.

"Some of the muscles involved are the abdominal (belly) muscles, the chest muscles, the diaphragm (the large muscle beneath your lungs that makes you breathe), the muscles that control your vocal cords, and muscles in the back of your throat."

According to, "Hiccups are sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle. As the muscle contracts repeatedly, the opening between your vocal cords snaps shut to check the inflow of air and makes the hiccup sound. Irritation of the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest can cause hiccups."

Both sneezing and hiccuping require messages to get from the brain to the rest of the body in order for them to happen. Because my spinal cord is damaged, these messages are not able to get through. Therefore, most things that one may do involuntary, I am not able to do. Exactly why I am unable to breathe on my own. I am also unable to throw up. All four of these actions require at least some use of the diaphragm as well which is an involuntary muscle.

Sometimes I feel the need to sneeze. My nose tickles and sometimes my eyes water. Either the feeling goes away, or my body does the action of a sneeze without the noise or air coming out of my nose. I think It looks funny to other people.



Rai said...

wow, that's a interesting tidbit thanks for sharing :) so do you feel like your going to sneeze and it just doesn't happen or does that not happen?

Jenni said...

I added the answer to your question at the end of the post. I'm sure others are wondering as well.

Rai said...

thanks for answering my question :)

Steve said...

Funny how we take body functions like that for granted.

Thanks for sharing that. Very informative!