Hiccups are a contraction of the diaphragm caused, in most cases, by overeating, overconsumption of alcohol, stress, excitement and carbonated beverages. The condition usually disappears on its own, but in some cases, hiccups can last for more than 48 hours. Gastroesophageal reflux, laryngitis or a cyst in the neck can cause long-term hiccups.
Medications - Doctors prescribe medications in patients with hiccups that last longer than 48 hours. Baclofen, metoclopramide and chlorpromazine treat cases of hiccups that are long-term, according to the Mayo Clinic. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant, metoclopramide is a nausea medication, and chlorpromazine is an antipsychotic medication.
Procedures - Doctors must determine if an underlying medical condition is the cause of the hiccups. Stroke, tumors, multiple sclerosis, encephalitis, meningitis and a brain injury may result in hiccups lasting longer than two days. Some disorders and medications may also cause long-term hiccups, such as barbiturates, steroids, tranquilizers, alcoholism, kidney failure and diabetes.
Surgical procedures may be used to treat cases of hiccups that last longer than two days. The doctor may insert a tube through the nose into the stomach in patients with a distended stomach.
An irritation of the phrenic nerve may result in chronic hiccups. Doctors inject an anesthetic to stop the hiccups by blocking the nerve. The phrenic nerve affects the diaphragm. A vagus nerve stimulation procedure, which typically treats epilepsy, may stop constant hiccups. The procedure requires the implantation of a device into the chest to stimulate the vagus nerve.
Alternative Medicine - According to the Mayo Clinic, some patients find relief from long-term hiccups with alternative treatments, such as hypnosis or acupuncture.
Home Remedies - Home remedies are common for treating mild cases of hiccups. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, hiccups may be helped by drinking a glass of cold water, eating a teaspoon of sugar, holding your breath or breathing into a paper bag.