Sitting in the living room, a stitch in my ribs is forcing me to wiggle in my chair hoping to find comfort.
“I need a subject matter to write an article about!”
I pondered aloud. As is often the case in my house, unless I am offering food or money, I am ignored. Shifting in my seat, the stitch bit at my chest.
“Why does this happen?”
Then, as if by magic, my Judas stitch become the solution to my quandary.
Why does your body work against you? Why are stitches, cramps as well as Hiccups and pins and needles a thing? Have you ever wondered? Well, wonder no more, read on, and together we can delve into the reasons our body attacks. (said in the same foreboding tone as: when sharks attack)
Let’s start with pins and needles. Known officially as Paraesthesia. We have all been there, right? Kneeling, sitting on our hunches, engaged in one activity or another, only to stand up and find our foot is dead. No sensation the prelude to what is to come. Next follows the almost unbearable pins and needles. As the name suggests, a sensation like a million pins being stuck in your feet. So, what causes this torture? Put simply, it’s when the blood supply to your limbs is cut off. The sensation whilst intense should only last a short while. It’s normal to get pins and needles in arms, legs, hands and feet.
Moving on, another common and perhaps even more painful deceit our body likes to sideswipe us with, often without warning is Cramp. Like Ninjas, they sneak up causing pain and spasms when we least expect it. “They can happen at any time, but most people have them at night or when resting” (www.nhs.uk). Cramp is caused when the muscles spasm, causing them to shorten and become tight. A cramp can hurt, like really, really hurt! Worst of all, it can last anything from seconds up to ten minutes. After a bout of Cramp, it’s not uncommon for the affected muscle to feel tender and bruised for up to twenty-four hours after the attack. As with pins and needles, they can occur in hands, feet and legs. A recent addition to my Cramp repertoire is hip cramp! I kid you not, thank you middle age, you are the gift that keeps on giving.
Next, thankfully not painful but annoying all the same: Hiccups also know as Synchronous diaphragmatic flutter or Singultus. There is no definitive cause of Hiccups but it’s believed that you can attribute strong emotions, stress or eating and drinking. I find a spicy chilli sends me into a bout of Hiccups quickly. They are caused by an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. As the muscle contracts, the vocal cords are forced closed causing the signature hic sound. There are a ton of “remedies” for Hiccups however I am yet to find a cure. Some potential solutions are breathing into a paper bag, sipping cold water and biting or sipping something acidic such as lemon or vinegar. One of my favourites, which for years I practiced without success, is to hold your wrist as well as your breath and count to twenty. Ultimately, they will go on their own.
Now, here we are back where we started: What causes a stitch? Precordial catch syndrome or Texidor’s twitch is a non-serious condition that feels like a sharp stabbing pain in the chest area, it can also occur at the side of the ribs, often occurring during exercise, and especially while running. This is a painful occurrence that can be made to feel worse with deep breaths or movement. As with all of the above-mentioned conditions they ease over time but can be extremely painful. It’s important to note that continued chest pain must not be ignored but a stitch is a harmless incident caused by nerves getting pinched or irritated in the chest wall.
There you have it, as I was saying, I need a subject matter for my next article. Hopefully, this is it. Most information for this article was sourced from NHS direct online. I hope you found it interesting, maybe next time you are suffering from a bout of Singultus, you will remember this article as you reach for the lemons.
By Julie Sanford
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