Monday, August 23, 2010

Medical Mondays: Of Bulging Neck Veins and Contest Winners


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!

Nicole Murray

Laura Pauling

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!

56 comments:

Alesa Warcan said...

Hey there! Welcome back! Lovely to read you again!

As I recall, the original question referred to "ropy things"?

Perhaps Patti was asking about the muscles (like the sterno-cleido-mastoidus) that tauten when the jaw is clenched (which many people do as a reaction to stress and anger) and to the ligaments connecting those muscles to the bone (the clavicle, right?)...

Slamdunk said...

Welcome back--I hope you had a relaxing time away.

Also, congrats to the winners.

Matthew Rush said...

Great explanation as usual Lydia! Thanks. I had heard of the Valsalva Maneuver, but I have no idea where.

Matthew Rush said...

Oh yeah, forgot to say congrats winners!

Liza said...

Yea to the winners, and as always, I learned something new here today.

Erinn said...

Congrats to the winners!
Very cool post today!

storyqueen said...

I am so sticking bulging veins in my book!

Terri Tiffany said...

Welcome back!! I loved this explanation today:))

Jaydee Morgan said...

Welcome back and congrats to the winners! I love visiting your blog on Mondays - I always learn something new :)

Lydia Kang said...

Hey Alesa!
You're right about the muscles. I'll add it to the post. Thanks!!!!!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Welcome back!

Valsalva Maneuver: I am so using that in a sentence today. LOL!
Great question, Patti!

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

haha...what disclaimer?
Congrats to the winners!
xo

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't think I have to worry about the baby thing...

Candyland said...

I threw up a little in my mouth. I don't know what it is about the word "bulging" but that's what did it.
Otherwise, great post:)

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Welcome back and congrats to the winners. You, Lydia, are simply the best. I love and look forward to your medical mondays (your other posts too duh) and not only how informative they are but for the sheer laugh factor at a few of the things like a Target Parking spot *giggle* I thought valsalva was when you decreased the pressure in your head by pinching your nose and blowing? Like on a plane.
Love the post as always and thanks for the early giggles!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Woa I totally learned something new. Valsalva Manuever hmmm! Your explanation was great and LOL funny. Hope your vacation was GREAT!

Carol Kilgore said...

A fun medical post! Welcome back, Lydia.

aspiring_x said...

hee hee the valsalva manuever... my hubby says it can cause you to have a heart attack when you go number two.

Christina Lee said...

Whew I'm glad all my "bulging" scenes are mostly accurate ;--) Okay, that kind of sounded worse then I meant it--LOL!

Lisa Gail Green said...

As always I find this fascinating! I love the info you give us, even though I write paranormal, I want it to be as realistic as possible.

Lisa_Gibson said...

Welcome back! Always such interesting posts. Oh and congrats to the winners!
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Bee said...

Superlucky winners!

The 'ropy thing' comment made me laugh out loud.
You got some interesting things out there. Hmm..
You enlighten me each Monday!

Slushpile Slut said...

Dr. Lydia...I must say I never knew I even had a glottis...So glad to know :)You are so funny! If only my PCP would explain medical info like this.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I've missed you and your delightful posts. Thanks for the medical explanation of the daily expression of my supervisor, usually followed by, "Roooooland!"

Have a great new week, Roland

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Congrats to the winners!!!

Jemi Fraser said...

I love your medical Mondays!

Congrats to the lucky winners :)

Melissa said...

WELCOME BACK!!! You got back just as I'm about to leave but I'm glad I snuck in one more medical monday. Seriously. You make mondays AWESOME.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Great to have you back (I hope you had a wonderful time). This is another super medical post. Thanks.

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

Cool info. I hope you had a great vacation.

Laura Pauling said...

Great post! I love the word, bulging, it's one of those words that brings up a mental picture right away.

And thanks! I'll email you my info!

Robert Guthrie said...

The better our cardio health, the less our veins bulge... true or misguided?

DEZMOND said...

since I'm bald headed, I usually have veins bulging at my temples when it's extremely hot and I'm walking outside and my forehead is sweating as hell. I guess that's the stress you described, because I'm generally a winter type of person, and plus I don't have hair to protect my head and stop the sweating.

Abby said...

For some reason I found this blog post extremely amusing... have yet to see if I have ropy veins in my neck when I poop.

Jackee said...

GREAT question and a great answer! I admit I laughed as soon as I read Valsalva. It's one of those words that fit its function. When I was in Rome I tried to even learn how to say it in Italian. Of course, I was with a bunch of party-happy doctors, so there you go. :o)

Have a wonderful Monday, Lydia!

Sam Liu said...

Welcome back! I'm glad you're back in blogland, and well done to the lucky giveaway winners:D

Jen said...

Way to go on the fabulous winners! that's awesome!!!

I learn so much on these Medical Mondays! I don't know what all I'll use but one day I am sure something will come up and I will remember where I snagged it from!

Patti Lacy said...

So glad you are back.

You must know that I got a second opinion from an athletic trainer and they said not only that you were exactly right but that you made sense, unlike most..

Oh, sorry!!!!!!
I broke my vow to never offend online!!!

LOL and WELCOME BACK!!!!!

Kelly said...

Congrats to the winners and I hope I don't have reason anytime soon to show off my ropy, bulgy things in my neck!

Munk said...

The Valsalva is also used by fighter pilots to keep from passing out at high Gs.
Munk

Bossy Betty said...

Welcome back! Congrats to your winners!

WritingNut said...

Welcome back! And congrats to the winners :)

I love Mondays over here :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

My valsalva maneuver must be going on inside my head...I don't get a bulge in my neck, but I'm pretty sure there have been occassions where my brain could have exploded....

Congratulations to the winners and I'm glad you are back from your holiday, Lydia. :)

Lydia Kang said...

Hey Munk,
Yep, you're right. In the case of G-forces, the Valsalva temporarily halts the forceful pull of blood away from the brain down to the legs.

In many cases though, the Valsalva can actually cause people to faint. It's a well known thing that Valsalva can actually cause people to pass out in the bathroom.
L

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Lydia..its nice to see you back in action and that too with a Valsalva maneuver. Wow! Lady you are awesome.
As for those ropey things, I use to often wonder what they were. Thanks for clearing those doubts.

Ann said...

Hope your holiday was relaxing and fun. I am in transit at the moment. My summer over but when I checked my email, I learned I had won a prize. A bright spark in my day. No bulging neck veins here!!! Just big grins. Thanks so much. Looking forward to more regular blog reading, commenting and writing. :)

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Love that I always learn something off the wall on your blog. :D Congrats, winners!

Talei said...

Oops I think I posted my comment for this post on the next one down. D'oh! Great post and congrats to the lucky winners!

Nicole Murray said...

Welcome back gal! ANd thank you so much for the opportunity to WIN! What a wonderful surprise. ;-D

And thank you for the explanation thie Medical Monday. I have a couple I have to wrangle up and send ya some time.

Thanks again Lydia!

Theresa Milstein said...

A big congratulations to the winners!

This is such a good post to refer to when I have an angry character. You give me plenty of ways to show instead of tell.

Talli Roland said...

Welcome back! We missed you! :)

Congrats to the winners!

Susan Fields said...

Welcome back - I hope you had a wonderful vacation, and congrats to the winners!

What a great explanation. Ah yes, I do know that Valsalva Maneuver. Oh, what fond memories. :)

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the info! I learn something every time I stop by!

Congrats to the winners:)

Hope you had a great vacation. Have a good week,
Karen

Krispy said...

Welcome back! And congrats to the winners!

I love the way you describe some of these things. I mean, sometimes, it's a little gross, but also kind of funny? :)

Samantha Bennett said...

Love the tips! And especially your use of the word "Groovy." :)

Jai Joshi said...

I had no idea that thinking about bulging neck veins was so amusing. Thanks for the info, I'll put it to good use. The next time my parents get angry at me, I'll explain that their neck muscles are standing out because of the Valsava Manouver. That should distract them long enough for me to get out of the room.

Congrats to the contest winners!

Jai

EvanDouglas said...

The veins can be caused by genetics, pregnancy, hormones, and long periods of standing and women have the problem and many women get them.

veins

 
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