1. Athlete with a stitch. Though sometimes very painful, a side stitch is not harmful and does not require medical attention. Eat right: Before a big game / run try to eat easy to digest foods, such as ripe bananas, yoghurt, sports bars, sports drinks or pasta. Real quick. What causes stitch on the side when exercising? Submitted: 8 years ago. Warm-up: Warming up is required. Category: Medical. Ask Your Own Medical Question. What is a side stitch? During intense exercise, more blood is required in your limbs. DO HAVE A HIATUS HERNIA - IS THIS THE CAUSE? It just comes on really quickly and goes after about 5 mins. Just reading that took me right back to my childhood (at that was a few years ago). I hate that “stitch” feeling, and don’t want to do anything that can trigger it. For a couple of days I have had what feels like stomach muscle pains. A 55-year-old female asked: I have a stitch in my side/back that ha lasted a couple days. Pain can range from sharp or stabbing to mild cramping, aching or pulling. What to do when a side stitch strikes during a run . It's suggested that ETAP is made worse if intense exercise is undertaken too soon after eating food. The abdominal pain you feel while walking or exercising may merely be a stitch. A cramp is more likely to occur in tired muscles therefore poor fitness or exercising at high workloads can increase the likelihood. Avoid really sugary drinks beforehand. Being overweight, a lack of oxygen when doing intensive training, weak core muscles, and even failure to do sufficient warm-up exercises may also be causes. Slow down. Dehydration can cause a stitch so if you are exercising for a long period of time try to take regular small sips of water / energy drink to keep yourself hydrated. Once you’ve experienced a side stitch, you certainly don’t want to experience another one. Stitches are a intense, tight stabbing pain that normally occurs under the ribcage on the right side of the body when exercising. 14 years experience Sports Medicine. Show Less. Latest. Stretch Causes of Lower Abdominal Pain When Exercising, Walking and Standing A Stitch. Your diaphragm – the muscle that separates your stomach and your abdomen from your heart and lungs and is the main muscle involved in breathing – when suffering a reduction in blood supply, causes it to cramp. And my stools are normal But this kind of pain may signal a heart attack, especially if it persists after you've spent a few minutes stretching. Eat your last meal about two to three hours beforehand. What causes a side stitch? You’ll feel this cramping pain on one side of your abdominal area, probably when you are running or walking rapidly. Breakfast: Eat a light breakfast, low in fiber and fat. Breakfast 2.0: Eat your breakfast 2 – 3 hours before the start. That’s one of the excuses tI use to avoid strenous activity. To stop a side stitch when running, stop running and place your hand into the right side of your belly and push up, lifting the liver slightly. What causes a stitch? Stitch is a localised pain usually felt on the side, just below the ribs. In severe manifestations, ETAP can be sharp, stabbing and unbearable, whereas in lesser presentations it manifests as a cramping or dull aching pain. This can lead you to have a real severe side cramp or side stitch. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue and should be avoided. If your pain persists for several hours, or does not go away after you stop exercising, you may need to seek the advice of a medical professional. And then when you start exercising, warm up gradually. Send thanks to the doctor. Doctors still don’t know what causes it, or how to stop it. How to prevent a side stitch. What causes a cramp? Have you ever wondered what causes one’s side to hurt during exercise? What is the stitch? A side stitch is caused by various strains on your diaphragm and the ligaments and muscles surrounding it. Show More. I always have. Several options: Assuming you are exercising in some form, employ these strategies: hydrate well before exercising, as dehydration may be cause; alter your breathing techniques, with a focus on deep exhalation; improve your fitness, as those out of shape tend to have more side stitches; begin the exercise gradually with slow-warm-up; decrease the intensity of your exercise. Rub It OutWhen a stitch strikes, massage or press on the area where you feel pain, while bending forward slightly. Typically a stitch is caused by a muscle in the abdomanal area going into spasm causing a great amount of pain. When you are exercising you are breathing in and out, while your body is moving up and down. Although not considered a true sports injury, it has been estimated that 70% of regular runners suffered from a side stitch in the last 12 months. Here are a variety of effective strategies to prevent this common running problem. As noted above, it’s not exactly clear what causes them, but there are some things you can do to increase your odds of avoiding the pain. You can exhale really hard, you can put pressure on the spot of the side stitch, or you can stretch it out. Can't actually remember if it worked or not but maybe there's something in it. It is sometimes accompanied by a stabbing pain in the shoulder joint. No one is quite certain why stitches occur, though there’s no shortage of educated guesses. A small power snack right before the race, like a banana, is an exception. So, it is important to stretch properly before exercising or running. 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