Exercise related transient abdominal pain, otherwise known as a “runner’s stitch”, is a common complaint among runners of every age and ability. It describes the special kind of debilitating cramp that’s experienced just under your ribs on one side of your abdomen; the kind that can literally stop you in your tracks.

Common Remedies for a Common Complaint

There are very few runners, if any, who have not experienced the cramping pain of a runner’s stitch at some stage and it’s for this reason that there are plenty of anecdotal cures.

Remedy 1 – Direct Pressure

To do this, simply apply pressure directly over the affected area by pushing firmly with your hand while bending your body slightly into the stitch at the same time. Many runners find they can do this while still on the move and report that it provides almost instant relief.

Runner’s Stitch Remedy 2 – Deep Breathing

To do this, you need to be aware of your stride pattern as you run. Most runners synchronize their breathing with their footfalls but by deliberately changing the normal pattern it’s possible to get rid of a stitch when it strikes. For example, if you normally breathe in for two strides then breathe out for two strides, consciously slowing and deepening your breathing pattern to exhale for three strides instead of two can be all it takes to provide instant relief.

Runner’s Stitch Remedy 3 – Run on an Empty Stomach 

It’s well-documented that a period of at least one hour should be allowed after eating before running and that drinking little and often is a much better approach than gulping down large volumes of fluid during a run. However, stretching a heavy stomach by raising your hands above your head in an abdominal stretch can provide instant relief from a runner’s stitch, allowing you to pick up the pace and enjoy the rest of your run.