It’s sudden and unexpected. You were enjoying your daily run and putting out the sweat that is a sign that you’re getting rid of unwanted fat. But this sudden pain in your lower abdomen forces you to stop. And the pain is persistent. It just doesn’t go away.
What’s the Problem?
This condition is called “exercise-related abdominal pain.” Based on a report in Sports Medicine, about 70 per cent of runners have experienced this kind of pain last year.
According to Janet Hamilton, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist working at Running Strong in Atlanta, this condition has been the subject of many scientific studies over the years, and yet they aren’t able to figure out how it develops and what causes the pain.
Don’t Worry – Here’s How to Get Rid of Side Stitch
There’s no reason for you to worry while doing your running workout at the Princeton Club or at the Fit Body Boot Camp. You can get rid of this side stitch by doing some form of exercises. But you really do have to attack this problem right now because it has a habit of striking again at a time you least expected.
Here is something that might help you if you are experiencing this problem. Hamilton says that some runners afflicted with this condition breathe in a symmetrical pattern and inhale and exhale on the same footfall every time.
However if your breathing rhythm is altered, the biomechanics of how you feel the loads while you are running will change. When that happens, one side of your body will not be continually anticipating your weight – thus you will feel the pain on that part of your body.
You can also try to mix up your breathing pattern while you’re running. Try inhaling for two steps, and then exhaling for three. This will cause your next inhalation to fall on your opposite foot. It will reduce some strain that occurs on one part of your body.
If you are still feeling some of the stitch, you can raise your arm that’s on the same side of the pain. And then put your hand on the back of your head. This will stretch your diaphragm, which is the muscle that expands and contracts with each breath you take. It will also stop the spasms that are converted into a hurtful cramp in your abdomen.
Bending forward and poking your fingertips on the cramp will also help in reducing the pain. You can also quickly dissipate the pain if you will blow out the air inside with your pursed lips.
Your overworked diaphragm will be relieved of the strain with this exercise. Do it two or three times until you don’t feel the pain anymore.
According to Janet Hamilton, you can avoid getting the side stitch if you wait 2 hours after taking a meal before you start running. The reason is that there will be less blood flowing to your diaphragm while you are digesting the food you just ate. If you run just a few minutes after eating, this will result in jabs of pain in your abdomen.
Preventing a Side Stitch
Aside from not eating before a run, there are other ways you can avoid getting a side stitch. One way is to do a body stretch before running. If you immediately take off without proper body stretching, you are liable to experience abdominal pain in the middle of your run.
Therefore, perform the appropriate body stretching exercise and you won’t feel any pain in your stomach even after you’ve finished your run.
Another way of preventing a side stitch is to practice deep breathing regularly. Diaphragmatic breathing is the correct way of deep breathing. Learn to breathe from your diaphragm and not through your chest.
Your diaphragm has a bigger cavity than the all the cavities in your chest. Since it can store more air, it can also supply more oxygen, which you need while you are running.
You will know if you are breathing diaphragmatically if it is your belly that is going up and down and not your chest.
What if the Side Stitch Occurs in the Middle of Your Run?
If you suddenly feel a stinging abdominal pain in the middle of a run, immediately slow down your pace and then deliberately slow your breath.
Should the pain still persists, stop altogether, and press your hand into the right side of your body and perform a few push-ups.
When the pain is gone, you can go back again and complete your run. But be aware that it might come back again so adjust your running pace and feel yourself as go.
Getting rid of a side stitch is simple and easy with these exercises. It should not hinder you from completing your run even if it occurs in the middle of it.