Oh Neat, Turns Out You Can Rupture Your Throat Holding in a Sneeze


I don’t know about you, but I personally haven’t really gotten my fill of alarming news in the last several days/months/year. To be honest, I’m starting to find the barrage of uplifting stories a little tedious, you know? “U.S. Welcomes Record Number Of Refugees,” “Polar Ice Caps Restoring,” “Life Expectancy Soars Thanks to Single-Payer Healthcare.” It’s just so dull. To break up the monotony, medical journal the BMJ Case Reports is here to tell you that you can actually rip your damn throat stifling a sneeze. Oh no! That’s the worst thing I’ve heard in ages!

Entitled “Snap, crackle and pop: when sneezing leads to cracking in the neck,” the report delves into the situation a 34-year-old man found himself in when attempting to “halt” a sneeze:

A previously fit and well 34-year-old man presented to the emergency department with an acute onset of odynophagia and change of voice after a forceful sneeze. He described a popping sensation in his neck and some bilateral neck swelling after he tried to halt a sneeze by pinching the nose and holding his mouth closed. There was no proceeding history of recent iatrogenic procedure or cervical trauma and he denied having eaten anything sharp.

Doctors saw swelling in the man’s neck, and heard a “popping” and “crackling” while they examined him, which turned out to be the air bubbles making their way into his muscles. Tests showed that yes, indeed, he’d actually blown a hole in his throat trying to tamp the thing down.

“Luckily, it was a very small perforation,” report authors Dr. Wanding Yang told CNN. “He didn’t need any operation.”

Sneezes can shoot from your face at a rate of 100 miles per hour, so it makes sense that holding them in can be dangerous. Doctors report that held-sneezes have incited inner ear damage, ear infections and at least one ruptured ear drum.

It’s a relatively rare injury, usually caused by blunt neck trauma through something like a gunshot wound or swallowing a sharp object. But, you can also get it from vomiting forcefully, which you probably won’t do because we live in a stable country run by a benevolent government and everything is great. Great! HAPPY SNEEZING!

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