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Bad pain in my side when I do cardio

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Every time I start jogging, or even walking at a fast pace, jumping jacks, etc I get the worst pain on my right side beneath my ribs. It makes it hard to jog for more than a minute or 2, and once I stop jogging (or whatever cardio), I'm in excruciating pain and sometimes I have to lay down immediately after jogging/running.

I searched online to see what it was, and found some results. I tried doing the suggestions offered (rubbing the area, taking deep breaths, etc), none of it seems to work. I'm hoping it's just because I'm really out of shape and I've just started working out, but I'm worried it won't go away. I'd really like to improve my endurance and be able to jog for more than a couple minutes, but if this pain keeps up I won't be able to do more than a brisk walk.

Does anybody else experience this? Did it go away the more you exercised, or do you still suffer with it?

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As you get fitter, it takes longer to come on and happens less often. Eventually, it doesn't happen at all, or like once every couple of years due to unusual circumstances.


IMO there is absolutely nothing you can do other than stop the activity to get rid of the pain. It can be pretty crippling.

Try focusing on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth - I think that helps the most.

Used to happen with me when I started running-and it happens to the kids occasionally when they run with me. For me (and them) it's improper breathing. I think they used to call it a "stitch in the side"-or that's what some old farmers told me it was ^^

I get it if I'm singing along to my ipod while running or the kids get it if they're yapping at each other while trying to keep up with me lol

It will get better as the quality of your breathing/lung capacity gets better. I also don't eat a large meal or drink anything other than water before a run

Keep at it-and focus on breathing in through nose and out through the mouth as armandounc said


  • Exhaling when your left foot hits the ground.
  • Tightening your abs as you exhale.
  • Slowing your pace.

Its all about your breathing. Focus on it. Try to breathe "normal" and not he he ho ho he he ho ho .. If you can convince your mind to breathe normal you should be to over come this.

"This cramp strikes you in the side, as the name implies, or even in the lower abdominal area. It's mainly the result of shallow breathing, not breathing deeply from the lower lung, says Jeff Galloway, a 1972 Olympian and veteran runner who has trained more than 200,000 runners and walkers and runs a marathon training program. ''The side pain is a little alarm" alerting you that you're breathing too shallowly, Galloway says. An imbalance of blood electrolytes (such as calcium, potassium, and sodium) in your body may also contribute, says Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise."

That sounds like a cramp. 

What works for me is to run on an empty (or nearly empty) stomach. I know this doesn't appeal to everyone, but I seriously never get cramps when I run early in the morning before breakfast-- I feel like I can run faster and longer too without any food sloshing around in my stomach. If you can't run on a completely empty stomach, try having something small before your run like a piece of fruit and a hard boiled egg. Or wait 1-2 hours after your last meal before you run. 

I used to get this a lot too when I started running, still do from time to time but it normally subsides with a few deeper breaths.

If it doesn't go away it may be worth getting yourself checked by a doctor to make sure you haven't done anything more serious like cracked a rib, which happened to a friend of mine stretching - no joke, or pulled the muscles between the ribs, which I've done and feels similar. Even if it is something like that I don't think they can actually do anything, just take it a bit easier and maybe take some pain relief

You have  some good information on here from other posters, I'll just re enforce a couple of them. When I began running, breathing was the best way to eliminate the side stitch. In through the nose out through the mouth, also there should be a rhythm as well, this will ensure that you are not getting too much or too little o2 in each breath, I'm not sure the science explanation, but I'm sure a quick google search would find that.

Second, I also find that your fitness level will make a difference over time, but while most of the time my runs are awesome, every now and then there is just that one run that really sucks!

Third, I have been running and racing for a couple years now, I almost ALWAYS run in the early early mornings (read too early to eat before running) so to mix it up recently I started doing one run a week in the late afternoon, and the first couple times I had that old side stich come visit, so I think that in my case this was due to full stomach, food and water, so this may be something to think about!

Good luck to you on your adventure!

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Thanks for the replies! I've been working on concentrating more on breathing and taking deeper, slower breaths, and I think it's been helping, I wasn't in near as much pain during my workout last night. I'll also try not eating so soon before a workout

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