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What's Causing That Stitch in Your Side?

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What's the deal with that sharp pain in your side when you're trying to win that marathon? SciShow has the answers! Hosted by: Hank Green ---------- Dooblydoo thanks go to the following Patreon supporters -- we couldn't make SciShow without them! Shout out to Justin Ove, Chris Peters, Philippe von Bergen, Fatima Iqbal, John Murrin, Linnea Boyev, Justin Lentz, and David Campos. ---------- Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records: http://dftba.com/scishow Or help support us by becoming our patron on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/scishow ---------- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Instagram: http://instagram.com/thescishow Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4281377/ http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/37/4/287.full http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796944/ http://www.businessinsider.com/what-are-side-stitches-2015-2 Images: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Respiratory_system.svg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gray1035.png
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Text Comments (2052)
Eli Bell (2 days ago)
Mine happens when I drink alot of Gatorade in between or after activities like baseball or football or just playing around in a 98° summer day,
machinegun xD (15 days ago)
Ok thanks alot
silvermoonshineX3 (23 days ago)
I found out that expanding and then sucking in your stomach helps a lot!! (because that's basically an internal massage). Treat it like a muscle cramp and it goes away really quick.
Marvin Andro (29 days ago)
I always thought it is because the spleen contracts to provide fresh blood
Patrick Knowlton (29 days ago)
I don't get side stitches anymore... huh.
Pixel Guy (1 month ago)
It happened to me then it went away then it came back
Ben Logic (1 month ago)
Didn't we used to persistence hunt? wouldn't this have been an issue?
KoolJoeTriple0G (1 month ago)
So that’s what it’s called.
M H S (1 month ago)
If you press on it, pain goes away
Daniel P (1 month ago)
I get this when I run on the treadmill at the gym. Feels like I got stabbed on my side.
WhitDog WhatsUp (1 month ago)
I get a pain often on my left or right side. Sometimes both at the same time. I've always called them side stitches but they seem to be higher than where a stitch would be so I'm not sure. They tend to be where my bra strap would be located. I get an intense, sharp pain that locks up my whole side but the pain is primarily in the region I spoke of. I get it even from doing simple things such as sneezing, coughing or laughing. If I stretch it also happens so I don't stretch as often as I should, in fear of the pain. I try deep breathing, it makes it worse. So it being that high up, would it be considered a side stitch? I've literally dealt was these for many many years... any info, help would be amazing. Sidenote.... these are things I've tried.... creams, Gatorade, more water, bananas, deep breathing and self massage. Thanks. Much Love 😁💚
Chet Willow (1 month ago)
I get a stitch every time I run is it normal?
Spectify (1 month ago)
how did natural selection not weed out side stitches
keltzy (1 month ago)
I get it even when I'm not exercising : \
Da_Cupcake101 VA (1 month ago)
My PE teacher never believed anything I said when I said I had a stitch... we had PE right after lunch... and we had to run right when we started... c o o l
john t (1 month ago)
I have never heard it called a side stitch in my life.
even dancers have that too
Dolor de caballo.
Charlie Aguilar (1 month ago)
I thought it said side chicks
Gregory Dearth (1 month ago)
Breathing right while running eliminates this altogether. It seems to be related to oxygen intake and expelling CO2 efficiently. People that run sometimes take rapid shallow breaths which gradually increases the CO2 levels causing cramps. In the Army I learned to use a couple different rhythms depending on if I was running alone or in cadence with the platoon. When running alone, such as for a PT test, I used a 3/2 rhythm. inhaling for 3 steps and exhaling faster for 2. Before I figured out how to do that I ALWAYS got the side stitch. I ran a LOT in the Army and once I figured out how to breathe, I never got the side stitch again. When doing cadence the pattern is a bit more complicated. Actually, the inhale happens more frequently in that case as you tend to inhale a couple times before exhaling to repeat back what the Drill Sergeant is 'singing.' To keep the rhythm, I usually went: 3 step inhale, 1 step partially exhale, 4 step deep inhale, 8 steps exhale while repeating back what the DS said. Doing this one ends up exhaling for 9 steps while breathing in for 7, 4 of which are particularly deep. The key is just finding a good rhythm and breathing in a deep controlled way. This may work for a couple reasons. It may increase O2 in the blood stream, decreasing cramping in general. Or it may be that doing deeper breaths exercises the related side tendons and diaphram such that the muscles involved don't bounce around as much (tense core muscles). So all of the hypothetical causes in this video can be simultaneously correct.
Rk900 (1 month ago)
It’s your body refusing to exorcise
Tess W (1 month ago)
Oh so easy answer is....no one knows. Well that's 2 minutes I'll never get back. 😂😂😂
ƒøø1 (1 month ago)
I had these pains happen during a routine jog. I just kept jogging through the pain and it went away.
Bethany Johnson (1 month ago)
last quarter of a MARATHON? Nah, that starts up after about 10 feet of going any faster than a jog and if i'm walking slower, after just a few miles.
My mum thinks its intestinal bruises, medicine will help , Friends think its cancer, im gonna die, Teacher thinks its lying, shut up will help, I think i lack memes, internet will help
Ink Something (2 months ago)
So I play football and after I run my bottom lung would start to hurt, that started two days ago and it came back today
Pravin Patkar (2 months ago)
Isn't this just one of the reason why we get side stitches. Few other I heard are; blood pumped into liver very fast causing pain especially if the liver is a little fatty. And the other is if you don't do good warm-up and stretching before cardio then you may get abdominal or back or neck or lateral muscle cramps that feel like side stitches. Or if you stomach-breathe which is aka diaphragmatic then your fast breathing can trigger it. Another one; due to gas or bloating or too much body weight.
100 subs without videos? (2 months ago)
I’M HAVING ONE RIGHT NOW AND IT FEELS LIKE I’M DYING Edit: okay never mind I feel better now. Edit 2: trust me, it happened.
Flamingo Funtime :P (2 months ago)
I lose my breath when I run, I abd when I get scared, I almost passed out when I ran.
alex tworkowski (2 months ago)
Useless video
Lloyd Christmas (2 months ago)
Who remembers getting this in Gym class and Track?
Jacob Peele (2 months ago)
I’m going into the military, and I’m scared to run in basic training now cuz this just happened to me recently, and I just ignored it for awhile but then it got so bad that I had to stop, I really hope this doesn’t happen again, does ANYONE actually know how to prevent the pain to even start??
Halberdier (2 months ago)
According to my PE teacher, the stitch is your spleen contracting to release extra blood into the circulatory system.
Hattie Whitehead (2 months ago)
Should it feels like I’m getting stabbed and get worse each time I run
Gabriel Álvarez (2 months ago)
I always thought it had to do with the splin and a bad breathing technique while doing sports.
David Kumar (3 months ago)
I get it unusually frequent.. I can't run more than 400m without getting one and I'm really fit and have a good diet. 🤔
Abdallah Maaitah (3 months ago)
69 ;)
Davey Posey (3 months ago)
Why aren't you mentioning the serratus anterior and the abdominals? Trigger points are real, and the serratus anterior muscle, which is located on the ribs and aids in breathing, can also cause a "stitch in the side" pain. Also, the abdominal obliques can cause a stitch-like pain in the abs region. You shouldn't overlook trigger points and their pain referrals. Bodywork therapists, including neuromuscular therapists, can help alleviate such pains in one or a few sessions. Our postures of sitting in front of computers, holding tablets and smart phones, playing games on consoles, and reading in bed are usually the culprit. Why go thru so much unnecessary testing and changes in diet when all it is is muscular pain referrals? And, yes, all of this is backed by physicians. http://triggerpoints.net/torso https://www.massagetherapy.com/find/search https://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/index.html
Antti Lukkari (3 months ago)
Julian Contreras (3 months ago)
usually, if i eat or drink something then i run, i get the stitch
Anastasia Luneva (3 months ago)
I once felt pain in my side so I ran faster and it went away. It came back the next day and I did the same. Now it stopped coming since I stopped running, but well... I now know the unhealthiest way to treat a side stitch.
J Wilder (3 months ago)
I find that I mostly get side stitches if I eat or drink too much before
Ismail EL ANSARI (3 months ago)
Eat something contain potassium, just try it...
MrSoldier (3 months ago)
i experience this so much e.e
Nathan Brawley (3 months ago)
Usually with me if I drink water up to 20 minutes before I run, I get these stitches.
Aii iiA (3 months ago)
This happens to me really often, if not every time I run... even after a short distance. :( 😤
Olorin Elior (3 months ago)
I think the first option is the most likely, since our bodies are made to run and walk a lot and having organs that bounce around wouldn't help that cause. Also, feeling a pain in your sides because some organs wherever in your body rub together a bit is a bit of a weird explenation.
ocean man (3 months ago)
I only get it if I drink too much water beforehand
la89ondevg (3 months ago)
Finally I know it's real. My father forced me to run and I keep crying that I feel piercing pain but he still made me run and beat me up saying that I am making this up myself.
William Cox (3 months ago)
I got stitches as a child and found all I had to do was inhale-take a deep breath-and they'd "pop" and the pain disappeared.
BG 105 (3 months ago)
The only thing I ask is, how do they go away even if you keep going? I mean I went to Air Time once, it's a trampoline place with doge ball and jumping into fome pits and all that, and I got a stich but it went away after a bit even though I didn't stop
BG 105 (3 months ago)
fred schulp (3 months ago)
Is it bad to run through a bad stitch?
cmiller8492 (3 months ago)
I thought these were called cramps. Hurt like hell feels like you're getting stabbed in the ribs.
Johny40Se7en (3 months ago)
I always wondered why this happens, ta very much for the answer =P
Elie Elie (3 months ago)
Intermittant fasting seems to help - train in a fasted hydrated state. Drink water.
D!lldan (3 months ago)
It only happens when I drink water, then exercise.
Swithin Games (3 months ago)
i thought it was the lactic acid building up but not going away in the obliques, that or straining the obliques
TheNineteenKing (3 months ago)
Stop eating like a pig before you exercise. Wait three or four hours, geez.
Jack Berry (3 months ago)
It happens to me when I'm just sitting in a chair, it lasts like a second or two lol very sharp
Pașca Alexandru (3 months ago)
I thought they're the adrenal glands....
arrudazachary official (3 months ago)
0:24 dude nice
Syed Sammer Haider (3 months ago)
At last it's answered... It happens when I even walk fast
Junaid Hamid (3 months ago)
was just asking about this today , thanks sci show
Genesis (4 months ago)
Isn’t he in the history crash course videos
Matthew Leake (4 months ago)
Got it, stop exercising. Problem solved
Water Droplet (4 months ago)
Anyone got a stitch from sitting too long?
Alexander Ayala-Farfan (4 months ago)
what if you have PE right after lunch and you have to run a mile with a full stomach
InvisableAssassin450 (4 months ago)
I get them when I drink water less than a hour before the run. What I do is breath deeply and it goes away.
Danielle Zuce (4 months ago)
Touch my ribs. 2 seconds later I experience this. Damn
Rhiju Srimani (4 months ago)
I get the really sharp pains in my heart for a split second, sometimes almost makes me fall over
Rhiju Srimani (4 months ago)
69% :D
kingcrab boy (4 months ago)
This made me get 43 in the pacer ;-;
nahuelisimo1197 (4 months ago)
Where I'm mostly is know as "la puntada del bobo" and It means "the dumb's stich" , what's weird is that most of my life I felt it in my left side, but lately it switched to my right side
Gary ? (4 months ago)
I lost my basketball finals because of this
PAPER INC. (4 months ago)
Thank you I thought I needed to have kidney transplants but it’s just that and I’m just a kid
Angelica Sabado (4 months ago)
i want to know why militar academies do not quality applicants who have flat feet. What is wrong with that?
To reinforce this hypothesis I will point out that you don't have to stop for the stitch to go away ypu just need to take in more owygen with deeper breaths atleast until your heart catches up.
I personally think it has to do with something in your abdomin not getting enough blood flow do to redirection to your fight or flight system. I don't get stitches after being completely warmed up I only get them before I am warmed up and still pushing myself. The body redirects blood to power your muscles before your heart and lungs catch up and something in your abdomin gets HANGRY for oxygen.
Jestekin E (4 months ago)
Dan Stromberg (4 months ago)
I thought these were "oxygen cramps", and I was told that as your stamina increases, you get them less (never). When I used to run track (now I do treadmill/stairmaster/weights), I got into the habit of inhaling for n count, and exhaling for n+1 count to really empty out your lungs; at around 7<=n<=11, you're getting oxygen pretty efficiently.
B u g g ! e B u g g ! e (4 months ago)
The fitness gram peyser test ALWAYS gets me maybe by the 13 round I’m like crying
Uz zy (4 months ago)
How to stop the stitching? Start breathing heavily through your nose and not through your mouth. Works every time for me.
SorryButYouAreWrong (4 months ago)
I get these from just bending over to clean my feet in the shower! I read a few articles, and most of them said it's because I am overweight. :P
vidyaWolf (4 months ago)
The answer is weakness.
Super Aeon #7577 (5 months ago)
I had a stitch last night and now in the morning this is in my recommendation.
artist_around _the_block (5 months ago)
Then how are humans good at long distance running like really?
Ciarrai B (5 months ago)
Wow, had no idea this wasnt normal haha. I’ve always had these stitches since I can remember and always thought everyone got them. I was always bad at sport primarily because of this pain, even just walking after some time does this and it doesnt matter how fit and active I am its still just as bad. I just have to take exercise really easily.
Funk E Beast (5 months ago)
drink more water trust me it helps
nate dean (5 months ago)
Folic acid build up!
i was running today and almost *C O L L A P S E D*
Megan Michelle (5 months ago)
Was running at the gym and it happened on my lower right side but didn’t go away after I stopped and lasted all night 😩
Lortafant (5 months ago)
I used to get stitch as kid. As for now, I prefer to run on a 12-18 hour fast. I've never had this issue as adult.
MyLove4Allah (5 months ago)
Am watching this now and laying down because of a sudden stitch and started since September 2017
Thnielsen85 (5 months ago)
i got my spleen removed several years ago, and i never had a side stitch after that.
Doeheart ! (5 months ago)
When this happens in pe I will just use my hands and move my organs around it helps for a little bit then I have to move them again my family’s weird so if your wondering how I can do this just know I’m weird and my family is weird
Lowe Lundblad (5 months ago)
There is a nerve in the palm of the hand which, if a small stone is pushed against, the pain is not as likely to occur. Don't ask me why...
Eng0 (6 months ago)
I always just reverse the movement of my diaphragm relative to my breathing and it goes away in around 10 steps
Annabeth 1052 (6 months ago)
I have never gotten a side stitch from swimming but I used to all the time when I was younger for running and sometimes biking
jacksepticeye trollface (6 months ago)
I cant remember who said it (probs my biology teacher, probs not) but we apparently get it from lack of oxygen in the muscles, so the muscles produce energy without the usage of oxygen, but also release some sort of waste that makes this happen. Or was it something else?
Nucleon (6 months ago)
The difference between our left and right side is what causes it. We do overlook our abdominal muscles and other smaller groups(mainly around the pelvis) involved while we strengthen only the big ones, like the quadriceps. So when you’re running or cycling or swimming the core tries to balance this imbalance that rotates the core more than it should on side and this happens. Exercise on all 4 axis of the leg,all abdominal and back muscles.

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