Side Stitch Pain

Three ways a physical therapist can help you address side stitch pain

Think about the many types of pain that athletes can experience. Then, name the type of pain that about 1 in 5 of people participating in a running-heavy sporting event will suffer from. No, it’s not knee, hip, ankle or even back pain. The answer is side stitch pain, and physical therapists can help you address and even prevent this type of pain. 

Who is likely to develop side stitch pain?

Medical professionals like physical therapists know the side stitch as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP). Certain people are more likely to develop this issue; broadly, anyone who is doing an activity where there is a lot of torso movement and the torso is in an extended position can develop ETAP. Running is the most common activity that puts the body in this position. As a result, runners are at higher risk of developing ETAP. Other people who have a high risk of developing this issue include: 

  • Basketball players.
  • Soccer players. 
  • Rugby players. 
  • Football players. 
  • Beginning-level runners.

How can a physical therapist address your side stitch pain? 

There are three general steps that physical therapists can take to help people address their side stitch pain. These steps are: 

  1. Identifying the cause of your pain — Physical therapists are trained to identify and treat musculoskeletal disorders, which includes ETAP. Your physical therapist will evaluate your body to help pinpoint the source of your pain. They may also ask you about the activities you perform every day, your diet, your water intake and your medical history. Gathering all this information helps your physical therapists to diagnose the cause of your ETAP. 
  1. Addressing your pain — One of the main goals of physical therapy is to reduce pain. Your physical therapist will also seek to reduce movement restrictions you are experiencing. Active Release Techniques® is often used to meet these goals. Your physical therapist may also recommend therapeutic exercises that stretch and strengthen your torso. 
  1. Reducing your risk of future pain — A physical therapist can also take steps to help you avoid future ETAP. One of these steps may be to educate you on proper stretching and hydration prior to running-based activities. Another is likely to be helping you to learn about and achieve better posture. 

SOL PT can help you tackle your side stitch pain

Do you regularly find yourself dealing with ETAP? You can work with our SOL Physical Therapy team to address your pain. We can evaluate the painful area and help you understand why you’ve developed this type of pain. Our physical therapists can then build you a customized treatment plan designed to help reduce your current pain and prevent future pain. We even offer virtual physical therapy that can help you address your pain without leaving home. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help you treat ETAP or to schedule your initial in-person or virtual appointment.

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