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What Is a Stitch?

The correct terms are side stitch, side cramp or stitch. We have all experienced a side stitch at some point in our lives: whether dancing, exercising or working.

Normally a sense of pain is felt below the rib cage. This pain is caused by the internal organs pulling down on our diaphragm (a large muscle below our lungs which assist us in breathing). The liver and stomach are the areas most affected and predominantly stitches come from running and jumping sports.

 Tips for preventing side stitches

1. Drink water to prevent muscle cramps

2. Strengthen core muscles

3. Improve overall fitness

4. Stretch properly before exercise

5. Exercise on an empty stomach (don’t eat for three hours beforehand)

6. Run on soft surfaces 

Tips for curing side stitches

1. Try belly breathing: inhale while pushing out the stomach, and on the exhale, relax the stomach muscle.

2. Stop exercising and place pressure with figures on the right side of your abdomen. Exhale slowly whilst applying pressure.

3. Reduce frequency of breathing (e.g. inhale and exhale every two or four steps)