Do you frequently get stitches while exercising? Don't worry—stitches that only occur during exercise are typically benign. But that doesn't make them less uncomfortable! Here are 6 easy tips to soothe your stitches when they occur, as well as prevent them from happening again in the future.
Stretch the Diaphragm
When the pain strikes, stop running and press your fingers into the diaphragm where it hurts most. This will hopefully loosen up the stretched ligaments. While holding your fingers in that spot, make a tiny ‘O’ with your mouth and breathe out as forcefully as you can. If you do it correctly, this will help drop your diaphragm. The pain should lessen or disappear after a few minutes of this.
Make Some Noise
Do you feel a side stitch coming on? Don’t panic: Try this little-known secret to relax your diaphragm before the situation gets worse. Every time you take a step, let out a loud grunt. Regardless of how embarrassed you might feel doing this, you’ll be amazed how effective this little trick can be. It’s worth the stares you might get from strangers.
Drop It Low
If you want to get rid of a side stitch, here’s another easy maneuver that you’ve seen runners do countless times. Bend forward and place your hands on your knees. Make sure your knees are bent. This position often helps to ease the pain and get you back to your workout.
Breathing deep as you run should help keep side stitches at bay. But once those stitches strike, breathing deep should actually be avoided because it will only intensify the painful sensation. At this point, the best thing you can do is to switch up your breathing pattern. If you were breathing out every time you stepped right, try exhaling when you step left. You should notice the side stitch waning in time.
Baby It’s Cold Outside
Here’s a tip that is much easier to follow if you live in a warm climate: Try to avoid running in cold weather. The icy air encourages the kind of short, shallow breaths that lead to side cramps. On freezing cold days, do your poor diaphragm a favor and hit the gym instead!
Burst Your Bubbles
Some specialists link side stitches to gas trapped in the large intestine. If you want to keep gas bubbles from spoiling your exercise routine, look no further than your kitchen for some of nature’s renowned gas-fighting foods. Fennel, cinnamon, peppermint and raw honey are just a few of the items you can add to your diet to lessen the likelihood of uncomfortable gas and side pain.