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Stitch - A Real Pain in The Side! - Part 1

Stitch - A Real Pain In The Side!

Why is it that just when you are on track for a PB you get stitch! It appears to happen to me quite often so I decided to find out exactly what is going on:

The fact is that no one really knows what stitch is and why or how it happens so I have done a bit of research and come up with some interesting information:

All the information point to the diaphragm being the culprit! It is pretty well understood by most people that the diaphragm is the main muscle of inhalation, but what is less known is that the diaphragm is also a vital part of the group of muscles known as the core stabilisers. In it's role as a core stabiliser, the diaphragm is activated subconsciously during the preparity phase of most limb movements. This function prevents no problem when standing still, but when exercising and putting these two demands together, as occurs during running, and it is easy to see how the diaphragm can become overloaded.

Facts About Stitch:

• Stitch is most common during running.

• The site of the stitch varies but is most common in the mid / lateral abdomen.

• Stich decreases with age.

• Stitch is sometimes linked to food or fluid intake.

• Stitch can lead to difficulty in breathing.

• Stitch may be more common in people who train less regularly.

Coping With Stitch:

• Stitch pain will subside if you allow your diaphragm to rest - in other words stop running.

• Try breathing with just the top half of your lungs for a short time.

• Bend forwards while contracting the abdominal muscles.

• Breathe deeply through pursed lips.

• Bend forward, tighten the abdominal muscles and press inwards and upwards on the site of the pain with your palm for 10 - 15 seconds.


• Do NOT ingest large volumes of food and drink, especially if it is high in Carbohydrate immediately before or during exercise.

• Train your diaphragm: Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) You will need a specific training device, such as POWERbreathe and  consists of inhaling against a moderate training load.

So there you have it! I have just started "training my diaphragm" and will let you know how I progress.

Part 2

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