Our bodies can be absolutely incredible. But sometimes they do things that leave us scratching our heads. Why do we get Charley horses? Or get itchy? Yawn? Here’s a list of body quirks along with some insight into these and other mysterious behaviors.
Anyone who has ever woken up at night with a painful Charley horse, also known as a muscle cramp, knows just how unpleasant they can be. These tend to occur in the calf, thigh, foot, stomach, hand and arm areas. The cause is lack of blood flow to the muscle in the affected area.
Itches can range in severity from mild to absolutely unbearable, and they can occur anywhere in the body. The cause is typically either dry skin that results from low indoor humidity or using harsh personal care products such as soap. Allergens such as pet dander, plants or chemicals can also cause itching.
Many people know the embarrassment of yawning at an inappropriate time, such as during an important meeting or social occasion. But why do we stretch our mouths wide to yawn when we’re tired or bored? It’s the body’s instinctual way of managing levels and balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Horripilation. Ever heard of it? Maybe not, but we’ve all heard of goosebumps, which is the same thing. They can happen anywhere on the body and look like small bumps coupled with hairs standing on end. When goosebumps appear, muscles are being contracted around the hairs that stand up. Cold temperatures or even intense emotions are two of the common causes.
The name is misleading: You get the painful tingly sensation after hitting a nerve in your elbow area. Often times this leads to a slight chuckle, while still in pain from hitting your nerve in just the right spot.
“Brain Freeze” is the sensation that makes it feel as if your forehead is freezing. You can get it from eating or drinking really cold food like ice cream or ice coffee. Brain freeze occurs when the cold beverage or food comes into contact with the nerves on the roof of your mouth. This causes swelling in the blood vessels in your head, which in turn causes an aching feeling.
Leg Falling Asleep
That familiar pins-and-needles sensation comes from excessive pressure on the nerve in the affected area. It typically happens in the foot, leg, hand or arm area. Simply moving around and relieving the pressure should be enough to reduce the discomfort.
Now you know the secrets behind these body quirks, feelings and behaviors. Next time you or someone you know has one of these issues pop up, you’ll know that it’s not the body betraying itself but just acting normal.
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BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.newsletter2021