How To Treat And Prevent A Side Stitch
You know when you double over on the first day of your workout sesh because something hurts like crazy on the side? That’s a side stitch. A side stitch is a tight spasmed oblique muscle which causes pain under the rib cage. You can thank your sedentary lifestyle for it. When we are sitting in a bad posture during the 9 to 5 grind, and then all of a sudden break into a run, we end up putting stress on those muscles which are still stuck in the same place and can’t work. Shocking your body is never a good idea.
What causes a side stitch is still uncertain but it usually happens when the diaphragm fails to receive enough blood during its contractions, almost like a leg cramp. It can also happen when you eat a heavy meal too close to an intense workout session when the stomach is really heavy. So, maybe save that pizza for after the workout.
Here are a few ways in which you can treat a side stitch:
- As soon as you feel the stitch, gently push your fingers into the area. That should help relieve some of the pain.
- If you get this cramp in the middle of a run, take a deep breath in, hold your breath for a couple of seconds, and then exhale forcibly.
- If all else fails, just stop running or walking, slow down your pace and take deep, slow breaths till the stitch goes away. Do not abandon your workout just yet. Once the stitch goes away, you can resume.
- You can even relieve the spasm by stretching both your hands up to the sky and bending sideways for 15 seconds each.
A side stitch will usually go away on its own but here are a few things to keep in mind in order to prevent it completely:
- Avoid fatty and high-fiber foods before a run since it less digestible.
- Have a proper posture and stand tall as well as sit straight on a chair.
- Don’t skip your warm-up before an intense workout.
- Stick to plain water for pre-hydration—avoid sugary, especially carbonated drinks.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal within one hour of running.
- Find a rhythm when you are running, and maintain a good pace.
- Stop, breathe, stretch whenever you can, make sure the oxygen reaches the entire body.