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  1. #1
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    I've been plagued with side stitches when I exercise for as long as I can remember. I don't always get them, but sometimes the pain is excruciating. Sometimes, they are all that stands between me and a "personal best."

    Here's what I know...

    Alot of times I don't get them. I can swim 3000 yards, or bike for 40 miles no problem. Then sometimes, I even feel them coming on when I'm just walking around the house.

    They are always on the right side, just below my rib cage.

    When I swim I get them less (almost never) if I alternate breath than if I breath on one side. They are more likely if I breath on the left. I get them more in backstroke than in any other stroke.

    I thought drinking gatorade before I swam helped, but yesterday I put 50/50 gatorade/water in my bottle and went for a ride. I was fighting a side stitch and an upset stomach the whole ride.

    If I stop and do forced, controled breathing, I can often end a side stitch. I don't like to do this because it could adversely affect my finish in a swim, a time trial or a trialthon. Also, the stitch may or may not come back.

    Questions:

    Is there anything that I can do that would consistantly prevent them?
    Is there a better source of electrolytes than gatorade?
    Should I see a doctor?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Mr.C,

    Stiches were a problem for my athletic 19 year old daughter the past two years. She found some good info by doing a simple Google search on "stiches." The consensus seemed to be that they appear generally on the right side, as in your case, and have a root cause arising from the asymetrical placement of intenal organs. Alternate breathing during RUNNING was one of the suggested remedies. Seems most people tend to exhale on the same foot down placement. Nothing about stiches while riding.

    Tyson

  3. #3
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    side stitches are a result of a spasm of your diaphragm. This explains why you can breath your way out of them. They are usually a result of taking short, shallow breaths for extended periods of time. If you are able to stay focused enough on your breathing so as to inhale through your nose deeply (even when winded) and take deeper breaths and blow off the carbon dioxide more forcefully, you can avoid these.

    These are not the result of an electrolyte imbalance. I'm sure if you were doing a A+B=C theory, then you could say that that improper hydration leads to getting winded and gasping for air thus bringing on the shallow breathing and the side pains.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TysonB
    The consensus seemed to be that they appear generally on the right side, as in your case, and have a root cause arising from the asymetrical placement of intenal organs.
    Hmmm. My internal organs could very well be asymetrical, considering that I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was in high school. It wasn't bad enough to ever cause me problems, but it did almost get me bounced out of the military.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Mr.C.

    Your organs ARE asymetrical, as are everyones. The liver is odd shaped and big. The lungs are asymnetrical (3/2) as is the stomach, etc. The diaphragm stresses more in some areas than the other. The advice about deep breathing is a generally accepted remedy, and is effective because it relaxes some areas and works others.

    Tyson

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