We all hate that feeling where you feel the breeze of the air as you sprint across the track and suddenly, a stitching pain in your side appeared out of nowhere. And the more you run, the more the pain gets intense, finally forcing you to stop in the middle of your run.
This is what we call ‘side pain,’ an occasional occurrence that not even single doctor doesn’t know where it came from. Some say that it is a cramp in the diaphragm. However, the incident where the diaphragm spasms remain to be seen. Others also say that it is a result of the tugging on the ligaments that attaches to the internal organs into the muscle. This is because whenever we run, our organs naturally bounce up and down into the elastic ligaments.
Another explanation is the decreasing blood flow every time we work out, which prevents the blood from flowing into the diaphragm, which results from spamming. Running also causes the belly muscles to contract and increase pressure into the diaphragm. As we exercise, we inhale more than we exhale, which results in air filling the lungs and presses down into the diaphragm, which causes cramps.
There’s also a theory that side pain is a result of trapped gas in the large intestine. The harder we work out, the more intestinal contractions are happening, pushing the gas into the colon, which causes side pains. Whatever the origin of the pain is, you can quickly ward it off by following these eight tips below.
- The common cause of side pains is improper breathing. Whenever you do exercises, try to breathe in a deep and slow manner so that the belly, as well as the upper chest, can expand, giving you air and thus, prevents side pains.
- The grunt exhale is an exhaling technique where you make a grunting sound every time you exhale. Many believed that grunt exhale helps relieve side pains as it forces the diaphragm to enter a new exhaling position compared to what it used to.
Keep it slow
- You don’t need to run as fast as Usian Bolt or exercise your heart out like Chris Hemsworth. Everything takes time, and this also applies to your exercise routine. Try building your intensity slowly over the week and gradually increase as you go on.
- If you started to feel that the side pain is taking over your belly, then stop. There’s no point in running if you’re already hurting. So stop, wait for a while, and let the pain subside before you take your next step.
The ‘one-hour’ rule
- Exercising after a meal is a disaster waiting to happen. So before you shred off those pounds, make sure to wait one hour before doing so. It’s not ideal to exercise with a full stomach, and if you do, your body will regret it later on.
- When side pain is really taking over, take your time to gently massage it to help the muscles relax and regulate blood flow back to its normal state.
The ‘poke and blow’ technique
- To do this, simply poke your belly just below your ribs on where the pain is residing. At the same time, gently purse your lips and blow as hard as you can while keeping your finger poked. This will relieve diaphragm pressure, relieving side pain.
Increase your agility
- Side pains are usually caused by weak abdominal and diaphragm muscles. That is why it’s essential to train yourself to increase your agility. To do this, you need to practice running fast. Doing so will increase your endurance and strengthens your diaphragm, thus preventing side pains.