For first time joggers including myself, we always experience this familiar ache or cramps particularly at the right side part of our abdomen. As much as we want to concentrate and remain focus during the whole duration of it, the side cramps just prevent us from accomplishing that. The longer we jog the more pain we experience. But what is it really about?
What is Side Stitches?
The side cramps are due to the muscle spasms of the diaphragm. It is commonly known as the side stitch. Let’s take a closer look.
If you’ll imagine how a diaphragm looks, it is a dome shaped muscle that divides the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. Therefore, it acts as a boundary between your heart and lungs within the chest cavity and the organs within the abdomen cavity.
Have you imagined it right? Now, moving on.
Obviously, it is the diaphragm that assists us in breathing. The diaphragm moves down during inhalation as we take air into the lungs while it moves up during exhalation. This is in our normal steady state like doing nothing or just reading a book.
But what about jogging? Just imagine how stressful it is for the diaphragm to maintain its work while we run or jog around a particular area. The internal organs would be also like bouncing up and down, pulling down and straining the diaphragm as it tries to move up once again during exhalation.
What Causes Side Stitches?
The liver, on the other hand, is the main cause of the side stitches. It is attached to the diaphragm by only two ligaments and being the largest organ in the abdominal cavity, is the very reason behind the pulling down and straining of the diaphragm as it tries to move up once again during exhalation.
Now we get to understand why we mostly experience side stitches on our right side immediately below the ribs.
A stomach full of food may also be a cause as it adds up to the total weight pulling down and straining the diaphragm as it tries to move up once again during exhalation.
Most runners are “footed”. This means, they begin and end a respiratory cycle on the same foot either in a stride to breathing ratio of 4:1 while jogging and 2:1 while running fast. This becomes synchronized with the stride thus exhalation ends up on the same leg.
And what happens during exhalation? The diaphragm moves up.
Let’s say that same leg is your right foot. So if one repeatedly exhales as you hit your right foot on the ground, (the internal organs on the right side of the body moves down by gravity pulling down and straining the diaphragm as it tries to move up once again as you exhale) a side stitch develops.
Remember, your liver is situated at the right part.
How to get rid of this? There are actually 4 Ways to Get Rid of the Side Cramps during Jog