How to Treat a Side Stitch
Mar 18, · 10 Ways to Stop a Side Stitch in Its Tracks 1. Slow down or take a break. Stitches are supposedly the result of too much exertion on your torso and spinal muscles. 2. Take a deep breath. To reduce the pain of a contracted muscle, take a deep breath. Then, breathe out slowly. Repeat 3. . Dec 22, · People who wish to avoid side stitches during exercise should: avoid eating at least 2 hours before working out. take in fluids throughout their workout but in small amounts. avoid sugary drinks before and during exercise. work on improving core strength. improve their posture. continue to exercise.
By: Kevin P. Call it a pain, a cramp, a poke in the gut or, simply, a side stitch -- however you describe it, most runners will know what you're referring to because they've experienced it themselves. While it's unpleasant, a side stitch is not an injury. A side stitch is simply a feeling of discomfort on the left or right side of your abdomen, slightly below the rib cage.
Think of it as an internal cramp. The cramp or spasm is actually occurring in your diaphragm -- the muscle that separates your upper torso from your lower torso and assists in breathing. It's the up and down movement of your diaphragm and internal organs that creates the spasm. Any activity that involves consistent jumping and jostling can lead to side stitches. But because running, how to treat a stitch in the side its very nature, produces constant jouncing, it is the sport most often associated with the temporary side pain.
Because of its sudden onset and intensity, a side stitch can be alarming. But there's no need to be concerned if you understand what's happening and how to fix it.
It is quite common and treatable [source: The Stretching Institute ]. With adjustments in your running stride, breathing pattern, and even choice of terrain, you can make the stitch go away quicker. Additionally, if you make modifications in your pre-run eating patterns and warm-up routine while steadily improving your cardiovascular fitness, you'll get side stitches less frequently. Bottom line? Whether you're a novice jogger or an elite runner, we can help ensure that this unwelcome guest doesn't visit often and never stays for long.
Running causes your body to move up and down with each stride. Breathing also involves an up and down motion of your diaphragm. But what happens when your breathing and running stride what is a mule note not in sync?
You guessed it -- you get a side stitch. When you inhale, your lungs fill with air and your diaphragm is pushed downward. When you exhale, your diaphragm moves up. But if your footstrike occurs during exhalation, the diaphragm gets pulled in two different directions.
If this happens repeatedly, the muscle responds by going into a spasm [source: Bodyresults. Side stitches are particularly common among beginners. This is due in part to the fact that beginners tend to breathe more rapidly, which never allows the diaphragm to fully relax on the downward cycle. With the continuous upward tension and downward tug brought on by the pounding of your feet on the pavement, a side stitch is more likely to occur [source: Bodyresults.
It's more common for side stitches to occur on the left side of the body than the right. That's because the biggest internal organ in your abdomen -- the liver -- is what kind of hot and ready pizzas are there on the right and is connected to the diaphragm by two ligatures [source: Johnson ].
Pockets of air and gas or a belly full of food can also create an imbalance and additional stress on the diaphragm. While runners come in all shapes, sizes and abilities, they tend to have one thing in common: They breathe out when their left foot hits the ground and breathe in when the right foot lands. This is true -- by some estimates -- in 70 percent of how to download aac files to ipad runners [source: The Stretching Institute ].
This is how it should be; however, if your breathing how to treat a stitch in the side out of whack during a particular run, you are more likely to create a tugging of the diaphragm and internal organs, which can result in the dreaded side stitch. As cardiovascular fitness improves, side stitches become less common. You tend to breathe deeper, which allows the diaphragm to move through a greater range of motion, instead of being held upward in a small tight pattern.
But side stitches can still happen to the best of runners so it's wise to have a plan in place for when they occur. Here are some treatments to try:.
Make mental notes of when you tend to get side stitches. Is it when you run after a meal? When you launch into an intense workout without a warm-up? When you're running downhill?
All of these scenarios increase the chances of suffering from a side stitch. So avoid a big meal before running, give your body a chance to adjust to the pace of your training for the day, and recognize that -- especially with beginning runners -- your diaphragm may not be used to the jostling it gets while running downhill and breathing heavily.
Otherwise, recognize that side stitches come and go. They may be momentarily unpleasant, but you'll be back in full stride in no time. Outdoor Activities. Running Health. Running Injuries. How to Treat a Side Stitch. There are a lot of runners out there and most of them have experienced a side stitch.
Cause of a Side Stitch " ". Side Stitch Treatments " ". Sometimes you may just need to stop, catch your breath and wait for the spasm to go away. Stop being shallow -- If you notice that you're breathing in and out in short breaths, focus on altering your inhalation and exhalation. Hold it -- While continuing to run, breathe in deeply and hold your breath for a moment before exhaling rapidly. Alter your cadence -- By speeding up or slowing down, you may be able to throw off the uneven rhythm between your footstrikes and breathing, which likely caused the problem.
Give it a rest -- If all else fails, a period of walking will give you a chance to catch your how to treat a stitch in the side and enable your diaphragm to finish its twitchy dance. What should distance runners eat every day? Sources Bodyresults. Johnson, J. Cite This! More Awesome Stuff.
What to do when a side stitch strikes during a run. There are a few things you can do during a run if a side stitch should develop. Slow down. When you get a side stitch while running or exercising then slow down and walk until the pain goes away. Putting your hand over the area and breathing deeply will help to alleviate the pain as well. Stretch. Oct 08, · How to fix it: The first thing you should do while still running is to raise the arm that’s on the same side as the cramp and place your hand on the back of your head. Jul 14, · Here are some treatments to try: Stop being shallow -- If you notice that you're breathing in and out in short breaths, focus on altering your inhalation Hold it -- While continuing to run, breathe in deeply and hold your breath for a moment before exhaling rapidly. Alter your cadence -- By Author: Kevin P. Allen.
Stitches, or exercise-related transient abdominal pain ETAP , are somewhat of a mystery as there is no precise or proven cause and there are multiple different theories surrounding the topic. Some say that stitches are the result of a spasm in the diaphragm due to the increased stress of exercise, while others theorize that they are caused by increased blood flow to your internal organs, like your spleen and liver.
This could cause temporary hepatomegaly or portal hypertension which restricts blood flow to the rest of the body and thus causes some abdominal pain around the liver. While those are two of the most common theories surrounding what causes stitches, there are many more so keep reading to find out more about the causes, prevention tips and treatments of side stitches as well as what to do when you do get one.
If you'd like to understand the science behind a side stitch then a study Authored by Morton DP, Callister R that was published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport is a fascinating read. You can read it by clicking here. Side stitches when running may be the result of a diaphragm spasm which, like any muscle, can fatigue during exercise. Another leading theory is that as your rate increases during exercise it forces more red blood cells into the liver, which can cause temporary live enlargement hepatomegaly or high blood pressure around the liver and portal vein portal hypertension.
These conditions can restrict the blood flow from the liver to the portal vein and therefore slow down the blood flow to the rest of the body. This is why many people will feel a side stitch on their right-hand side around the liver. Your breathing patterns could also be what is causing the discomfort. Shallow breathing could also cause side stitches as you need to breathe deeper when you run so that your muscles get enough oxygen.
One of the most well-known causes of side stitches is eating a big meal or drinking a sugary sports drink before you go for a run or do some prolonged form of exercise. It is always important to make sure you warm up your muscles before you do any sort of exercise. Going from 0 to with no warm-up causes irregular breathing and puts a lot of strain on your muscles. Warming up helps to get your muscles ready to go so that you can exercise for longer without getting a side stitch or cramping.
Pro Tip: If you've ever experienced a side stitch while running and most of us have this is what is causing it and how to deal with it during a run Content hosted by iono.
BRAD We're going to be chatting about stitches today with regards to running. We've all had them at some stage and they're not pleasant. We've got the coach with us, Lindsey Parry, Lindsey, welcome back. Nice to touch base once again. I hope we're talking about stitches of the abdominal kind rather than the medical kind from falling while you run. BRAD Absolutely. That is exactly what we are chatting about. Lindsey, let's sort of give a sort of overview of stitches as a whole.
We get lots of questions in, people saying I get stitches and what do I do about it? We'll touch on that in this chat as well. But what is a stitch and what causes it?
Part of that is because they are also quite non site specific. So some people get stitches up around the collarbone or just under the collarbone area, other people get it kind of in the mid abdominal region, between the rib, and then I guess the most common stitch is the one that you get just underneath the diaphragm, or in the upper abdominals.
So it is a cramp, that's the one thing we know. So what the actual stitch is, is when either your diaphragm or your intercostal muscles have gone into to cramp. A little bit harder to talk about the stitch that people kind of get that's just under the collarbone, it is also a cramp, but it almost feels more like there's a pocket of air that's stuck in there or something like that.
So because it is muscular in nature, in other words, it's a muscle that's gone into spasm, we then look at the things that can potentially affect it. So when it's in the intercostals, or more around the rib area, we tend to look at breathing as the culprit. When it's in the abdominal area, or just below the diaphragm or in the stomach, then the culprit normally is the diaphragm itself. So there would be some looking at breathing but also how full is your stomach.
So have you drunk too much, did you eat too much before you ran, is there like an excessive tugging of the stomach on the diaphragm, which then leads the diaphragm to go into spasm while it's breathing in and out.
So definitely, because it's cramping and it's often related to the diaphragm or the intercostal muscles, changing you're breathing, slowing it down, deeper slower breath, that can help. Often applying pressure to the area now that's particularly useful when it's in the diaphragm area, that often when you actually apply a pressure to that muscle with your fingers or the palm of your hand, that reduces the cramping and it definitely reduces the severity of the cramping.
People kind of hunch over and turn over and that sort of serves the similar kind of purpose in that it's putting pressure on the muscle and it's perhaps easier and more comfortable to run just by applying that pressure. Certainly walking often reduces the cramping and in that instance where walking does reduce the cramping then I do feel that often changing the breathing pattern, but in particular, just not taking in fluids for a while so that you can just let your stomach settle down does definitely help.
And when you start running again, start running at a slightly lower intensity so that bouncing of the stomach isn't quite as big, but also that the breathing or respiratory drive doesn't just suddenly push up. Then obviously concentrate on just slower breathing and breathing in deeper in and out.
You can also try, particularly with the diaphragm stitch, you can try the belly breathe, so in other words, as you breathe, use your stomach to go in and out. That also then can help those muscles just to relax and to stop that cramp from continuing. Make sure you breathe deeply when you exercise so that you get enough oxygen to your muscles.
Your muscles need oxygen to work properly so shallow breathing can cause your muscles to fatigue quicker and cramp up. Inhaling deeply and exhaling fully while running can help to prevent side stitches from occurring. What you eat and how long you wait in between eating and exercising both contribute to you your chances of getting a side stitch.
Certain foods take longer to digest so should be avoided before you exercise or head out on your run. If you are unsure about which foods are more likely to trigger stitches, you can keep a log of what you eat and drink before your runs and then track when you get stitches so that you can recognize which food is a possible trigger.
Incorporating strength work into your training can also help to prevent cramps as it helps to strengthen your core muscles and diaphragm which makes them more resistant to fatigue and cramping Our free strength training progam is perfect to include as part of your training. Detailed descriptions of each exercise so you know how to do them.
When you get a side stitch while running or exercising then slow down and walk until the pain goes away. Putting your hand over the area and breathing deeply will help to alleviate the pain as well.
Stretching your abdominal muscles by reaching up with one hand while bending to the side of the stitch can help get your blood flowing and stretch out any cramping muscles that may be causing the side stitch. If you get a stitch, try concentrating on your breathing and make sure you breathe in deeply and exhale fully. This will help increase the oxygen levels in your muscles so that they can function normally.
While it is recommended to slow down to a walk if you experience a side stitch, you can continue to run with a stitch. If the pain is mild you can continue running but you should try to focus on your breathing and get into a pattern of deep breathing while you run so that you get enough oxygen to your muscles which will help to ease the stitch.
Side stitches do not cause any permanent damage to your body, muscles or organs. They are a temporary condition caused by changes in blood flow, blood pressure or spasms in the diaphragm and they usually only last a few minutes.
Once your blood flow normalizes and your muscles start functioning normally again, you stitch will go away and you can continue to run or exercise as you please.
While stitches may be a nuisance, they are ultimately harmless and will not cause any permanent damage. If you have severe side pain accompanied by a fever and abdominal swelling, go and see a medical professional immediately as those are symptoms of something more serious.
Simply click on any of the images below to access our running training programmes. Are side stiches caused by a spasm in the diaphragm Some say that stitches are the result of a spasm in the diaphragm due to the increased stress of exercise, while others theorize that they are caused by increased blood flow to your internal organs, like your spleen and liver. What causes side stitches?
How to prevent side stitches There are 4 things you can do to prevent a side stitch while running: Warm-up properly Breathe deeper Eat properly before your run Add strength training to your training regime Let's dig into each of these in a bit more detail Warm-up properly It is always important to make sure you warm up your muscles before you do any sort of exercise. What is causing your abdominal pain when you run?
Can't Listen now? Read the full transcript BRAD We're going to be chatting about stitches today with regards to running. What is a side stitch and what causes them? How to deal with a side stitch So definitely, because it's cramping and it's often related to the diaphragm or the intercostal muscles, changing you're breathing, slowing it down, deeper slower breath, that can help.
Breathe deeper Make sure you breathe deeply when you exercise so that you get enough oxygen to your muscles. Eat properly before your run What you eat and how long you wait in between eating and exercising both contribute to you your chances of getting a side stitch.
Strength training Incorporating strength work into your training can also help to prevent cramps as it helps to strengthen your core muscles and diaphragm which makes them more resistant to fatigue and cramping Our free strength training progam is perfect to include as part of your training. Do you want to shave 10 minutes off your marathon PB? You can run faster with our FREE running strength training programme that you can do once a week, at home and with no expensive gym equipment needed.
What to do when a side stitch strikes during a run There are a few things you can do during a run if a side stitch should develop. Slow down When you get a side stitch while running or exercising then slow down and walk until the pain goes away. Stretch Stretching your abdominal muscles by reaching up with one hand while bending to the side of the stitch can help get your blood flowing and stretch out any cramping muscles that may be causing the side stitch.
Breathe If you get a stitch, try concentrating on your breathing and make sure you breathe in deeply and exhale fully. Can you continue running with a side stitch? Can a side stitch do permanent damage? What are you training for? Love Running? To make sure we send you the strength training programme most relevant to you, please select the distance you're are training for below:.
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