Painful Side Stitch


Ok I have been running properly now for coming up to 6 months, on and off before that for 18 months.

Never have I had the dreaded Side Stitch attack!

I am a morning runner, up and out the door before day breaks but today my bed was just way too cosy and the weather outside to awful to contemplate leaving it.  So by lunch time I had resolved to the idea that today’s run would have to happen tomorrow.

By 3pm I was itching to get out, I needed the calm head space that running gives me.  With my cold having knocked me about for a few days I haven’t run since Tuesday, and I honestly miss it.

4pm I got myself ready to go, and off i went!

By mile two, the dreaded side stitch hit, not one side but both!!! With no idea what to do to stop or ease it I decided to slow the pace (not that I am fast to start) and concentrate on my breathing.  I didn’t stop but sure as hell wanted to.

I wonder whether my body is just used to the lovely morning run on and empty stomach and just starting out for the day?  Who knows:

So what exactly is side stitch?

It is an intense stabbing pain under the lower edge of the rib cage that happens when exercising.

What causes it?  (Taken from BBC Sport)

‘It is one of the main muscles involved in breathing. Most scientists believe that the pain is caused by a reduction in blood supply to the diaphragm, causing it to cramp. The stitch is caused by fluids which the body finds hard to digest. This causes the gut to “tug” on the ligaments connecting it to the diaphragm’.

How do you get rid of it? (Taken from Womens Running)

Do this next time you feel an ache coming on:
  • Don’t panic! It’s only a cramp.
  • Focus on maintaining relaxed, even breathing.
  • Slow down and place your hand around the area that hurts.
  • As you exhale, pinch this area between your fingers and thumb. …
  • Continue this pattern for five or six breaths.
  • That should do the trick!

I will most definately be taking this chestnut of advice on board and next time side stitch hits (hopefully not soon) it will work!


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