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Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip - 10/19/2004

I have been preparing for a 5K race in my town and lately I’ve been experiencing a pain on the side around my ribcage when I run. Is this dangerous and what is it? (Stephanie, Levittown)

I presume that you are in good health, so it sounds as though you are experiencing what is known as a “stitch.” This annoying pain usually occurs on the left side of the body above the pelvis and below the ribcage. It is simply a build-up of gas and pressure. Take a moment to rest, breathe deeply and continue. If you continue to run, slow down a bit for the pain to subside and then resume your pace.

I suggest that you keep a log of when you eat, what you eat, how much time you give yourself to properly digest your food before you exercise and if /when/where you experience pain. Please note that carbonated drinks could cause gas pains.

Although a stitch is uncomfortable, it is not dangerous. Keep on running the race.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on