Why the side of your abdomen hurts while exercising



There is an old proverb -“no pain, no gain”. We all know pain and workout go hand in hand.
Sore muscles after an intense workout session mean your form was right and you targeted the right muscle groups as required while performing a particular exercise.
But some kinds of pain have a different meaning and are caused due to different reasons. Like the one on either side of your abdomen that you experience after running a few miles or a cardio session.
Pain in the sides of the abdomen, also known as side stitches is experienced by most people on a daily basis.
The nasty, sharp cramp that occurs just under your ribs, typically during an intense cardio session or a core workout can slow down a good workout when you thought to pull it off well. Many of you would have wondered why this happens. Well, here is the answer.
Side stitch is also referred to as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP). It is a sharp and stabbing pain felt on either side of your abdomen, mostly on the right side. It is generally experienced during prolonged athletic activities, such as running, basketball, or cardio workout.
Truth be told, the exact cause of a side stitch is unknown. There are several theories related to it. But which one is absolutely correct is yet to be determined.

The most common theory is that the increased blood flow in the liver and spleen during intense cardio movement causes the pain on the sides of the abdomen. Another theory suggests that pain is caused by internal organs while pulling down the diaphragm. The pain is also believed to be caused due to irritation in the lining of the abdominal and pelvic cavity.There is no clear answer to this common health concern. Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the exact cause.

How to deal with side stitches

As the exact cause of the pain is not known, it is difficult to say what can help. However, there are small tricks that have proven to be beneficial in reducing pain. Trying these tricks will provide you with some relief from the pain and let you finish your workout easily.

  • When running, take small breaks or slow down.
  • Do not hold your breath while exercising.
  • Inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
  • When you feel the pain in the abdomen perform some stretching exercises like reaching one hand overhead and bending on the sides.
  • Gently massage the area with your fingers.
  • Stay hydrated while exercising and avoid fizzy drinks.
  • While exercising make sure your posture is correct.
  • Do not exercise immediately after having a heavy meal.

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