• Question: What causes the stitch we occasionally get on our side while we do sport?

    Asked by Diana to Dan, Helen, Katy, LauraAnne on 18 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: LauraAnne Furlong

      LauraAnne Furlong answered on 18 Nov 2016:

      Stitches are cramps in your diaphragm – this is a big muscle under your lungs which is very important in breathing. One reason is that when we exercise, blood moves to the working muscles and so this leaves the diaphragm weak as it has less oxygenated blood to work with – that is why controlling your breathing would be helpful. Another reason could be that poor digestion results in the muscles above your stomach pulling on the diaphragm which again would cause pain, and that’s partly why eating 2 hours before exercise is recommended, to allow digestion to occur.