Sports & Fitness

What Is A Side Stitch and How Can I Prevent It?

Have you ever been exercising and felt a sudden sharp pain in your side? That is a side stitch. There are a variety of things that can cause this to be happen, but plenty of ways to prevent it and fix it when it does happen.Upset-Stomach-e1435338884817-700x394


A side stitch is caused by various strains on your diaphragm and the ligaments and muscles surrounding it. When you breathe in, your diaphragm goes downward and contracts. When you breathe out, your diaphragm goes upward and relaxes. When you are exercising you are breathing in and out, while your body is moving up and down. Depending on your breathing, your diaphragm may not be in sync with your body’s movement causing strain on the ligaments surrounding the diaphragm.



Drink Water: Dehydration can cause a side stitch, it is important to have your body fully hydrated before exercising.

Warm Up: Starting off with a few stretches before you go for your run, or start to work out, will help your muscles warm up and get prepared.  


Start Slow: Even after warming up, do not jump into a high intensity workout. Start easy and slowly build your pace to a higher intensity workout.

Limit Food Intake Before Exercising: Try to limit the amount of food and beverages you consume 2-3 hours prior to a workout. Especially avoid drinks high in carbohydrates and osmolarity (fruit juices). Food can take up space in your stomach and make it heavier, causing the collision with the diaphragm to be that much more painful.

Breathe With Full Exhalation: Do not hold your breathe or alter your regular breathing while exercising. Take full and complete breaths.



Stretch: Bend your body to the opposite side of your pain and stretch the muscles out. This will release some of the tension.

Rest: Take a quick break and wait the cramp out.


Massage: Massage or press on the area of pain to relieve the muscles and ligaments that are strained.

Breathe: Take full, deep breaths.

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