You feel glad that you chose to exercise today and the cool breeze on your body as you forget about the stress and just focus on running. You’re just pounding away one foot at a time when it hits you, a sharp pain in your abdomen that doesn’t go away….
Side stitch looks like it’s joining you for a run. Let’s explore the causes, how to prevent it and how to make it stop.
Side Stitch Causes
When people run a few minutes after they eat or they start out fast without warm up, side stitch usually develops. There is no real proof why it happens and it’s always a topic that has been debated and studied. Some research suggests that there is a link between drinking high fructose beverages before running. Others say that the spine curvature can be a reason. Improper breathing is the most popular belief among the experts.
Side Stitch Prevention
- Avoid eating food for at least an hour before running. The best hydration is water. Stay away from carbonated, sugary drinks.
- A good warm-up can also help. Do an easy jog before the main set and dynamic stretches.
- Shallow breathing is a good practice to avoid side stitches. Breathe through your mouth in and out when running. Breathe from the belly and not the chest. You are taking more air when you do belly breathing.
- Good posture and running form is needed. Do not hunch while running. You will not be able to take deep breaths when leaning over.
How to Fix It
Many runners inhale and exhale following their footfall every time. However, if you change the breathing rhythm, you also change the load of air you get into your body while running. From time to time, change your breathing patterns. Inhale for 3 steps and exhale for 2 steps. It will help release the strain that your body is experiencing from one side.
If pain is still lingering, raise your arm on the side of the stitch and place it on your head’s back so that the diaphragm will be stretched. It is the muscle that is in control of each breath you inhale and it contracts and expands while doing so. When side stitch occurs, most likely there is a cramp in the abdomen.
Bending forward and poking the area cramping with your fingertips can also help. Blow through pursed lips to alleviate your diaphragm. Repeat until side stitch subsides.