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Hi -
I've read alot about the various tactics other people use to combat muscular cramping during rides, but I very rarely ever suffer from that kind of cramping. More often I get a "side stitch" - a very sudden and very sharp pain/tightness in my lower right abdomen at the very bottom of the rib cage. The side stitch occurs without any warning and always in the same location. It happens to me infrequently and only as often as about 3-4 times per year, but I would like to know what causes it and how to prevent it.

I've read that side stitches are caused by everything up to and including:
-electrolyte depleation (just like a regular muscle cramp)
-rapid, shallow breathing
-weak abs
-poor fitness
-drinking quickly or 'gulping' fluids
-drinking fluids that are too cold
-eating too close to a workout
-gas/indigestion
and my favorite:
-irritation of the ligaments connecting the liver

Does anyone here know for sure and what do you do about it?
 

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The cure?

Skidoo said:
Does anyone here know for sure and what do you do about it?
Not only does no one here know for sure what you do about it, medical science doesn't know. The general view is that it is a cramp in the diaphragm, but cramps are largely a mystery too - lots of theories but no proven prevention or cure. IME, the best guide is to work on regulating your breathing, but that is easier said than done.
 

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Yep, it is caused by a cramp in the diaphragm, and no, there is no known cure for it. However, I would try streching it out just like any other cramp--if you can figure out a way to do that. You would have to exhale all your air and press in on your abd muscles to my way of thinking :confused:
 

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I suffer from these when running, and based on some suggestions, I worked on my breathing so that I exhale harder than I used to, and try to time my exhaling with when my left foot hits the ground. That combination has been 100% successful for me while running.

.02
 

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i used to get them running as well (no problems on the bike) about once a week.....

my "cure"
breathing pattern (helps in prevention as well) of:
in nose
out mouth
in mouth
out nose
repeat

also, john was sort of right:

push your abs all the way out (flex) and stomach muscles all the way out (push your general cramp area muscles out), then hold this and exhale as hard as you can (work this into the breathing cycle). exhale so hard u make a noise (almost like a duck sometimes it seems).

used to work for me, good luck
 

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Yeah, I used to get it all the time when running. I found that not eating within 4h of running really helped, or going out first thing in the morning. Strengthening your core muscles and maintaining good posture would probably help too. I've read that it has to do with the lungs irritating the liver whn you exhale. Try the breathing excercises above
 

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Best thing that I ever did was to add some cycling specific pilates and yoga to my routine. I still can't believe how much improvement I have gotten on the bike by doing some core strength training. Coach was again. :cool:
 

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i second this method but recommend that you dont focus on force but deep relaxing breaths. i used to (and still do ocassionally) have this problem but control it by stretching my abs and ribcage with some serious deep breathing exercises. Sometimes if you breathe deep enough you can cause your sternum and back to adjust -- and even quietly pop, like a trip to the chiropractor! Bonus: Try practicing breathing while in the drops.

Another thing: consider getting some rest - i find getting adequate sleep helps to keep cramps under control in general.
 
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