Follow our advice and you’ll be pounding the pavement again in no time.
Don't let side stitches put you off from running. Photo: ammentorp / 123rf.com
Your music is turned up, you’re running to the beat, and you feel invincible. Then all of a sudden the dreaded side stitch attacks and you feel a sharp pain that stops you in your tracks. What can you do to find relief and get back to your morning jog?
Side stitches are a very normal occurrence – in a survey conducted in 2000, 69% of runners had experienced one, 75% of swimmers and 47% of basketball players. Next time you get a side stitch, do this.
1. Stop, stretch and breathe
When you get a side stitch, your natural reaction is to grab the part of your body where it hurts – this is good! Bend forward slightly from your hips and press on the area with your fingertips. Hold the position for a few seconds, taking deep breaths in and out. Stand up straight, lift your arm above your head (on the side where you have the stitch) and take another few breaths to stretch your diaphragm. You should start to feel the pain subside.
2. Change your breathing pattern
Once you start running again, inhale for two steps and exhale for three so that you aren’t putting too much strain on the side where you initially felt the pain.
Top tip: If you get side stitches every single time you run, we advise you speak to your physician.