I’m pretty sure, that everyone has had a stitch before. This is the reason why I wanted to have a closer look about what happens in the body.

The interesting part is that the pain caused in the coastal arch can’t be clearly defined by doctors today. There are different theories on what happens if you get the stitch. The most common theory is that the pain has its origin in the midriff, which divides the chest and the stomach area. When doing high-intensity sports like basketball, all muscles in the body require a lot more blood. The blood flow into the midriff decreases significantly, and in turn will move less oxygen into this particular muscle. This causes a convulsion which starts to pain.

Another theory on what causes stitches is a sudden distension of the skin which surrounds liver or spleen, caused by the increased blood demand of the whole body when doing sports. These are just two theories out of many. Now let’s talk about ways to prevent getting the stitch.

The key points are pretty common sense:

  • Don’t eat large meals at least two or three hours before doing your workouts, otherwise liver, spleen and stomach may cause pain.
  • Try to avoid milk and pulse as well as other foods which may cause flatulence.
  • When doing sports tried to inhale and exhale continuously. As a rule of thumb, if you can chat while working out, you have the right speed and load.

Here are some points on what to do, if you already have a stitch:

  • Pay close attention to your breathing. Take a deep breath, inhale and exhale consistently.
  • Gently press your hand on the part of your body, that causes the pain. Bend your upper part of the body to the front and slowly release the pressure by exhaling at the same time.
  • If this didn’t work out for you, let’s have a look at a different exercise which is pretty common, especially when you’re watching runners getting the stitch. Stretch your arms in the air and inhale at the same time. Then exhale bend your upper part of the body by bringing down your arms towards the ground.

If all of the mentioned points do not help to get rid of the stitch, reduce the intensity of your drills or the speed until the pain is gone. A very common problem is, that a lot of players start off too fast, without warming up properly. So take it slow and increase intensity slowly. Fortunately the pain when having the stitch will not last permanently and cause long-term effects, although you should pay attention, if the pain does not go away with in a couple of hours or a day. If the pain emits to your lungs or breast area you should contact your doctor right away, because there may be other organic reasons for this.