I’m sure most of you have experienced it. You’re halfway through an enjoyable run, or nearing the finish line of a race, or just a few minutes into your early morning run when it hits you–the awful side stitch. Pain that can range from a dull cramp to a sharp, stabbing, piercing sensation and on either side of the abdomen. And according to recent statistics, close to 70% of runners have experienced a side stitch within the past year. Thankfully, there are several strategies you can use to help ease cramps, as well as preventative measures to keep them from occurring in the first place.What Causes Side Stitches?
Even though side stitches are extremely common, the cause isn’t quite fully understood. Although there are a number of different theories out there, some medical experts think that side stitches, also called exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP), is possibly due to a lack of blood flow to your diaphragm. As you run, pressure increases on your abdominal muscles 2328527_origand you breathe rapidly, causing the lungs to expand. These two actions–a push up from your abdominals and a push down from your lungs–create a dual pressure. The result? Your diaphragm gets pinched in the middle, which can cut off blood flow and oxygen, thus causing the cramp. And it’s not just runners who report side stitches–swimmers, cyclists, and soccer players also report being plagued by the dreaded pain.Can Side Stitches Be Prevented?
There may not be a foolproof method for avoiding side stitches altogether, but there is a bit of good news…side stitches generally go away the more you run. Now, elite athletes are not immune, but they certainly get them less often. So, you’re not an elite runner yet? Then following these strategies before a run can help prevent the onset:1) Don’t skip your warm-up
–While there is currently no known scientific evidence that shows that a proper warm-up prevents side stitches, getting your heart rate elevated before a run is always a good idea. Dynamic stretches , such as high knees, butt kicks, and walking lunges, should be your warm-up of choice.2) Strengthen your core
–A recent study found that strengthening your transverse abdominis muscles, located behind your “6-pack” (rectus abdominis), might reduce the incidence of side stitches. The muscles run horizontally around your body to help stabilize your lower spine. You can activate them by sucking your belly button toward your spine and strengthen them through a variety of ab exercises such as Kegel’s exercises.Entire Blog https://www.wildermanphysicaltherapy.com/how-to-ease-painful-side-stitches-when-running/