Hey all! Well, I'm back from vacation and I missed you guys!
First of all, a few prizes to give out. The random number generator picked the following lucky winners!
Ann from Inkpots and Quills
Congrats Ladies! Email me at MedicalMondays (at) Gmail (dot) com and send me your contact info for your prizes!
And now, onto today's Medical Monday question.
Patti Lacy wonders what in heck are those ropy things that bulge out from your neck when you're mad?
Great question! And for fun, I'm going to tell you why it happens too.
Surely we've read (and seen) some furious people who look like they'll pop when they're mad. The face gets red. Ropy things in the neck bulge out. Their eyes bug out. Fists clench.
Well, it turns out there are physiological explanations for this pre-bubble-bursting phenomenon of anger.
One "ropy thing" that may stick out is the sternocleidomastoid muscle that connects the jawbone to the clavicle. When you are tense, this can bulge out a bit. So there's one possibility. (Thanks Alesa!)
Another is the neck veins that return blood from the head back to the heart. This can be caused by:
1) The fight-or-flight response. It's a natural response your body has to extreme stress. In the old days, it's what you felt when a saber-toothed tiger was about to nibble your leg. You got ready to flee, or fight. And one result of that is your body shunts your blood where you need it--your muscles. Your heart rate and breathing increase. And the blood vessels in your neck may bulge because blood is already pumping through your body at an accelerated rate.
Nowadays, the Amex Bill causes the same reaction. Or a driver who steals your prime parking spot at Target. (Deep breath!)
2) The other mechanism of bulging veins is the Valsalva Maneuver. It's a fancy term for increasing pressure inside your body by holding a breath against a closed glottis.
I hear a lot of blank stares in the crowd. Yep, I can hear that.
You all know what the Valsalva Maneuver is! Yes you do! I'll prove it.
Imagine you're trying to push a 12 pound baby out your teeny, weeny pelvis. Push! Push! Push!
There you go. That's a Valsalva. It also occurs in the bathroom, if you catch my drift.
AND it can sort of happen when you're very angry. Angry people tense their abdominal muscles, may hold their breath and clench their teeth. Increasing your internal body's pressure by this maneuver causes your neck veins to stick out like giant worms. Groovy.
Please keep in mind this post is for writing purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice! (See sidebar disclaimer)
If you've got a fictional medical question, let me know! Post below or email me at
All I ask in return is that you become a follower of my blog and post a link on your blog when I post. Easy peasy.
Also, don't forget to check out Mental Health Mondays at Laura's Blog!