Hiccups are classified into several categories. A hiccup bout can last from several seconds to several days. A persistent hiccup is one that lasts for several days or weeks. Hiccups lasting more than a month are called intractable. In rare cases, intractable hiccups may continue for years.
Everyone seems to have a favorite cure for hiccups, but usually the hiccups go away by themselves. In severe cases of hiccups, doctors may try to block the hiccup process (also called the hiccup arc or pathway) by stimulating parts of the respiratory (breathing) system or by prescribing medications to relax the muscles involved. When all else fails, surgery is done to block the nerve signals from the phrenic (FREN-ik) nerve to the diaphragm. The purpose of this procedure is to paralyze part of the diaphragm.