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Reading signs your body sends

  • Published at 12:13 pm November 28th, 2014
Reading signs your body sends

Why do you get a headache when you eat or drink something really cold?

When something cold touches nerves in the roof of your mouth, it triggers blood vessels in the front of your head to constrict, causing a surge of pain. When the pain subsides, the blood vessels are relaxing back to their normal state. Normally an “ice headache” will ease in a matter of seconds, but there is a way to speed things up.

Pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth when the headache starts will cause increased blood flow, and cause the blood vessels to relax again.

What causes eye twitching?

The technical term for this is blepharospasm, or BEB. It’s a common condition that can occur in the same eye, and in the same area of the eyelid, frequently. According to scientists, these spasms happen when you are awake and disappear when you sleep.

Causes of BEB aren’t known, but stress, eye strain, and fatigue are thought to be the culprits. These spasms are generally harmless; however they can also be caused by a neurological disorder, and in some cases become chronic. The best way to avoid them is to relax and get enough sleep.

Why do your ears pop?

This can happen when you are flying, travelling at elevation, riding in a lift or swimming or if you have a head cold.

The usual cause is the natural equalization of middle ear pressure with the ambient atmospheric pressure. This equalization occurs through the Eustachian tube in the ear and is usually initiated by swallowing.

The pop is the opening of the tube connecting the middle ear to the back of the throat, which lets air flow through. Ways to force a pop including yawning, sucking on a sweet, pinching your nostrils closed and holding your breath.

What are hiccups?

Hiccups occur when the diaphragm becomes irritated and spasms, forcing air up and out so that it bounces against the vocal chords. They can occur because of eating too quickly, drinking too much alcohol, or too many carbonated drinks or swallowing too much air.

Hiccups eventually go away, but remedies that can help include holding your breath, drinking water or breathing into a paper bag to change the level of carbon dioxide in your blood. Hiccups that last more than 48 hours may be due to nerve damage and should be checked by a doctor.

What is a stitch?

Exercise-related transient abdominal pain, also known as a stitch, is pain felt just below the ribs and can range from sharp or stabbing, to aching or pulling. In most cases, when you stop exercising, the stitch disappears.

According to specialist, the exact cause of a stitch is unknown, although for a long time they were thought to be caused by a reduction of blood to the diaphragm.

To prevent a stitch, the specialist recommends not eating just before exercising and not drinking highly concentrated fluids, such as soft drinks or fruit juice, before or after.

If you do get a stitch, you can alleviate the pain by pushing on the site, bending forward and breathing deeply.

What are pins and needles?

Pins and needles is a temporary sensation that can occur in a limb if you are sitting in an awkward position, like sitting with your legs crossed, or hanging an arm off the back of a chair.

Pins and needles are the recovery from a condition called paresthesia, which is a loss of sensation. When your arm goes to sleep temporarily, it is caused by a compressed nerve. As the paresthesia is resolving, blood flow starts to return in patchy areas and, as the recovery isn’t even, this causes the prickly sensation.

But constant pins and needles can indicate a more serious problem. If it is persistent or recurrent, or isn’t happening because of something obvious such as sitting on your legs, see a doctor.

Why do joints crack?

If you move and hear a loud pop in your knee or hip, don’t worry, you haven’t broken anything. A normal joint comprises bone covered with cartilage, which is protected by a capsule lined with synovial fluid.

This fluid contains various gases, including oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. When healthy joints crack, it is thought to be the result of the capsule being rapidly stretched, causing the formation and release of gas bubbles. The release of gas can cause the popping sound you feel and sometimes hear.

Once the gas is released, the joint is usually a bit more flexible. And if you’ve noticed you can’t immediately crack the same joint again, that’s because the gases released in a pop take a little while to be reabsorbed into the fluid. 

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