A stitch is often described as an acute, sharp and fleeting pain that occurs during exercise. Runners often encounter this problem. This sharp pain under the rib-cage can be caused by cramp in the diaphragm or midriff, the liver or the spleen.
Air in the intestines or eating too close to training may also be a cause. Stitches can impact upon sporting performance. Sports men and women are often forced to reduce the intensity of their exercise or stop altogether.
- The sports person has painful stitches during intensive exercise.
- He describes the pain as sharp, stabbing, irritating or cramp-like.
Put the sports person at ease; stitches are not dangerous.
Advise the person concerned to walk slower, breathe calmer and stop the exercise. If the pain becomes unbearable, advise him to take slow steps while keeping his arms above his head. Stretching the stomach muscles by bending forwards and elevating the painful spot, will make the pain more bearable. Making fists in order to get rid of the pain is actually an old wives’ tale but, if it works, why not.
- Don’t exercise immediately after a meal or a large quantity of fluid.
- Drink small quantities of fluid during sport instead of one, huge drink.
- Avoid shallow breathing and try to breath deep into the lungs, using your stomach.