Stitches and Muscle Cramps

Stitches and Muscle Cramps

With the resumption of sporting activities and an increased number of people who have picked up running and other forms of exercise, it is quite likely that many people will suffer from stitches and muscle cramping while exercising

What is a stitch?

A sharp, stabbing pain usually felt in the mid- outside abdominal area. Even well-trained runners and athletes are not immune from this condition, although they tend to experience them less frequently.

Preventing a stitch

  1. Nutrient Timing: Avoid eating large meals, fatty foods or dairy products 1-2 hours before exercise
  2. Breathing: Exercises designed to promote belly breathing
  3. Thoracic Mobility: Warming up prior to running
  4. Hydration: Make sure to be adequately hydrated and during exercise drink fluids high in electrolytes
  5. Improving fitness: Whilst still occurring in fitter individuals, stitches are less common.

What to do if you get a stitch?

  • Take some slow deep breaths, focus on abdominal breathing.
  • Try and stretch the painful area
  • Bend forwards
  • Take a break from exercising until the stitch disappears.

What is a muscle cramp?

A sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles. Though generally harmless, muscle cramps can make it temporarily impossible to use the affected muscle. Long periods of exercise or physical labor, particularly in hot weather, can lead to muscle cramps.

Causes of a Cramp

  1. Overuse: of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp.
  2. Inadequate blood supply: Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your legs can produce cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you’re exercising.
  3. Nerve compression: Compression of nerves in your spine also can produce cramp-like pain in your legs. The pain usually worsens the longer you walk.
  4. Mineral depletion: Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps.

What to do if you get a muscle cramp?

  • Avoid dehydration: Drink plenty of liquids every day. Fluids help your muscles contract and relax and keep muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. During activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals, and continue drinking water or other fluids after you’re finished.
  • Stretch your muscles: Stretch before and after you use any muscle for an extended period. If you tend to have leg cramps at night, stretch before bedtime.



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