A proven way to solve side stitch

Jes , 2 Comments

Not from laughing too much but from running.
Running to or away? (Source: wikipedia)
I have always had side stitch since young and am unable to get it to go away. All through my NAPFA test, cross country competitions, playing basketball, trainings, I have always had to struggle through the pain even though I have been running regularly. Some articles suggest that stitches only happen to unseasoned runners but for my case, it's seriously wrong.

The side stitch is always so excruciating when I push past my limits that it seems that the pain saps all my energy away. My concentration was on ignoring the pain and trying to regulate my breathing. I read somewhere that men depended on their physical strength for running while women usually depend on their will power... definitely true for me. Surprisingly, none of my friends have got the same problem so it might not be such a common problem or maybe I have been asking the wrong people.

It used to be bad but I only remembered how tormented I was when I started training for 10km marathon recently. Of course I tried to solve it! I have done so much research like this article in the past that they normally suggest these solutions:
1) Don't eat too much before a run... ok!
2) Do more warm ups.. of course!
3) Regulate breathing.... like duh!
4) Exhale on the side that has no stitches...sigh!

Other articles talked about more or less the same things, with one suggesting to stretch on the painless side but the pain seized up after another 2 or 3 paces. To solve this, first we must know what is causing it.

Stitches are caused by the expansion of the diaphragm, which cuts off blood circulation when the legs hit the pavement. For me it's normally on the right side, so taking advice from the research, I have to try exhaling on my left. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for good.  It seems like I can't push past my limits because my body is resisting to cooperate and my mind is too caught up by the pain in my lower abdomen to do anything else.

It was only last year before I chanced into this Lifehacker article that saved me from giving up running altogether. The solution is to inhale and exhale at my left side throughout the run consciously. It took some getting used to but I had no pain throughout my run and I actually enjoyed my run tremendously!
On your mark...  Get set... (Source: wikipedia)
I was so exhilarated!

I was also looking forward to running again so that I could repeat this experiment and am now proud to share that this really worked! Without the pain, I can actually focus on improving my timing. No more pain after so many years and I think people should share this information instead of some crap well meaning theories that do not work.

Running has never been easier nowadays. Hope this helped you too.  


If you have benefited from this post, support our first business venture at snackfirst.com or like us on Facebook!


  1. Hi Jes,

    After sharing my previous IPPT results, nothing motivated me better than two ladies commenting on my "weak" running timings.

    Talk about male ego. LOL.

    Anyway, good tip that I learnt from you as I occasionally do have stitches. And good luck for your 10km run!

    1. Hi 15HWW,

      Thank you for reading my post! We were trying to motivate and ask you not to be hard on yourself which proves to be a good provocation technique... wahaha! I look forward to seeing your improved timing :)

      Yeah do try this method and let me know if it only works on me... thanks!