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Preventing That Annoying Side Pain During Physical Activity

If you're an avid runner (and even if you're not), you're familiar with the unpleasant pain that is often referred to as "side stitches". That stabbing, dull pain that occurs in a portion of the body just below the ribs, making it all the more difficult to breathe, is something that you've had at least once or twice.

With this said, there are a number of theories as to why they come about, but nobody really seems to know for sure. The only thing that is certain about them is that they are painful and annoying.

Some link the pain to pressure on the diaphragm or even tight straining and pulling of the ligaments that are connected to the internal organs surrounding the area of the pain. Some physicians even believe that when engaging in physical activity, the legs put a great amount of pressure on the diaphragm, which then pinches the muscles, essentially cutting off the normal flow of blood and oxygen to the area.

Whatever the reason may be, it is an actual proven fact that some suffer from, and are prone to, side stitches more than others. In the Journal Science and Medicine in Sport, a study was conducted that found that roughly 30 percent of runners that consistently run more than 15 miles, are more likely to get side stitches while running.

The study also brought about a variety of ways that those who are prone to this unsightly pain, can increase their chances of avoiding it as they exercise:

Ease Back on the Pace

Pain in any capacity, is a signal from the body that something is wrong. Side stitches are the body's not-so-subtle way of telling you that you may be pushing it a little too hard in your workout. 

Plank It

Strength exercises are key to any workout routine, and the plank exercise is one of the best for a number of different reasons. Gaining strength and stability in the core muscles and the back, can help to alleviate the tension on the muscles and help the body to cope with strenuous activity.

Eat Wise

Eating foods that are higher in glucose can actually help alleviate the pain that comes with side stitches. Another trick is to drink water with a little salt sprinkled in it to help the muscles maintain their elasticity through exercise.

Breathe Right

It is suggested that during exercise, you breathe according to a 3:2 or 2:3 breathing pattern. This means breathing in through the nose and then out through the mouth, according to these rhythmic patterns.



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