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Side Stitches(7 posts)

Side StitchesWannabe
Apr 18, 2002 9:14 AM
LAst night on the weekly group ride I got side stitches something fierce. It was about 20 miles into the ride while I was dying trying to hold the wheel of Macho Man #1 (these are supposed to be the "slow" group ride but he was pulling up a gradual hill at 23 and somehow I ended up on his wheel).

Anyway, I got a bad case of side stitches. I have not had them since running c.c. in H.S. and never before on the bike. Once I tailed off the fast group and slowed down, they went away in about 10 minutes. When the slower group caught up I hitched on and had no problems the rest of the way in at their pace (20-21). My questions are:

1. What causes side stitches?
2. What to do to prevent them?
3. If I get them again, is there a way to get rid of them other than just cooling it?


re: Side StitchesPsyDoc
Apr 18, 2002 9:58 AM
This is info gathered from the web. Apparently, side stitches are caused by a muscle spasm of the diaphragm as an unconditioned diaphragm is the likely culprit most of the time. The organs under the diaphragm are bouncing up and down and pulling the diaphragm down as it wants to pull up. The liver is the biggest culprit which explains why most stitches are on the right side. A stomach full of food may also add to the problem. You can help rid yourself of stitches by doing exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles, because tighter abs allow less movement of internal organs. Some also recommend practicing "belly breathing" instead of chest breathing.
Apr 18, 2002 10:22 AM
Interesting. That would explain why I would get them running and last night, coincidentally they occured right after a REALLY rough section of road...

re: Side StitchesRode Warrior
Apr 18, 2002 10:43 AM
wow, thanks for the info. I have been plagued by them since I got into road biking, but less so since I lost weight.

Is it possible that my bars could be too low, and my thighs are contacting my belly exacerbating this?

Apr 18, 2002 3:11 PM
it has seemed that I've gotten them when I wasn't breathing deeply during a steady, hard ride. By deeply I mean full lung breathing that reaches all the way down to the diaphragm.

The "cure" has seemed to be breathing deeply down to the diaphragm. And the stitch is gone in just a few minutes, even while riding. The only hitch in this stitch cure is that those first few really deeps breaths once you have a stitch are painful...

Anyone else have "home remedies" for stitches?
home remedyRideLots
Apr 18, 2002 3:40 PM
I used to get them all the time running, but never have on the bike.

Something that always worked for me. Take your hand on the side of the stitch and put it right under your rib cage on the side, thumb to the back and fingers in front, then squeeze between your fingers and thumb, sort of a big pinch, while pushing in at the same time. Hold it for 10 seconds or so. I have no idea why it works, but it did for me.
re: Side Stitchescmp
Apr 19, 2002 5:22 AM
I've actually seen a running race where a women stop to do situps in the middle of the race, I heard later it was because she had a side stitch. She then got up and proceeded to win the race! I've never tried that myself, but it seemed to work for her!