2

votes

Why am I not getting rib stitches or other cramps despite being a beginner Crossfitter?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 17, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Throughout my life, whenever I've gotten started suddenly on exercising (as when returning to swimming or soccer seasons in high school, or water polo in college), I've gotten stitches in my ribs (also other pains elsewhere like shinsplints).

I started Crossfit three weeks ago, yet despite the intense workouts, I haven't had a single rib stitch. The only thing that's different right now is my paleo-style diet - and I also soak a few days per week in Epsom salt baths.

Is this enough to prevent the stitching entirely, or am I just not working out hard enough to get the stitches? I wrap every workout breathless and exhausted from head to toe, but no stitches.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 18, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Yeah, I was thinking exactly this. The only activity I get stitches from is running- never ever got them rowing, biking, weight lifting, swimming etc.

C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on October 17, 2011
at 10:59 PM

I'm sure it will vary depending on the person, I only commented based on my experience i'm sure they can be causes by a number of different movements/level of intensity.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 09:28 PM

I hadn't thought about it until my fellow "frosh" mentioned her side stitches this morning.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Yup, wheat free, other nongluten grains very rarely.

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on October 17, 2011
at 01:16 PM

Yeah I've had them but I've always wondered what they are as in what is causing them.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 11:58 AM

The reason I'm not convinced that rib stitches require a long running-based workout is because my fellow beginner Crossfitter today complained of her rib stitches after our workout. (Pretty sure she's not paleo.) In any case, the workout was enough to give her stitches, and her mentioning it is what sparked my curiosity as to why I haven't felt them myself yet.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 11:57 AM

The reason I'm convinced that it may not take a long running-based workout is because my fellow beginner Crossfitter today complained of her rib stitches. (Pretty sure she's not paleo.) In any case, the workout was enough to give her stitches, and her mentioning it is what sparked my curiosity as to why I haven't felt them myself yet.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 11:56 AM

Feels kinda like someone is grabbing a pinch of flesh/muscle right at your side, and twisting fairly hard.

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on October 17, 2011
at 11:55 AM

What exactly are rib stitches? I've always wondered that.

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5 Answers

6
Medium avatar

on October 17, 2011
at 04:18 PM

With playful due respect, focusing on the negative symptoms and side effects that are not part of your exercise experience, seems kinda like "Really having a fantastic time here on Maui but can't help thinking about whether it might start hailing soon." Seriously, focus on what's working. Let trouble find someplace else to hang out. :)

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 09:28 PM

I hadn't thought about it until my fellow "frosh" mentioned her side stitches this morning.

3
Medium avatar

(19469)

on October 17, 2011
at 08:16 PM

A side "stitch" is thought to be a spasm of the diaphragm, possibly related to movement of internal organs such as the liver and the spleen.

I have also heard (and tend to believe that this is a more likely cause) that it is caused by the fatiguing of the intercostal muscles (found between your ribs) related to improper breathing and thoracic alignment.

Therefore, you may have avoided experiencing this phenomenon during your current Crossfitting endeavor because you are now moving with better alignment/awareness and breathing more correctly than when you were younger.

1
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on March 18, 2012
at 01:13 AM

I doubt it's paleo, and I never thought of it until your post, but I've been plagued with stitches all through my high-school and college running. But when I gave up running and switched to CrossFit-style workouts, I never got stitches. I've been doing HIIT for 5 years and paleo for only 3, so it can't be the paleo that got rid of them. I do go hard enough to puke after (some) workouts, so it's not an intensity thing, it's just a different style of workout that doesn't cause stitches.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 18, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Yeah, I was thinking exactly this. The only activity I get stitches from is running- never ever got them rowing, biking, weight lifting, swimming etc.

1
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 17, 2011
at 04:01 PM

I am assuming that you have given up wheat and other grains. This has made a big difference for me.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Yup, wheat free, other nongluten grains very rarely.

1
C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on October 17, 2011
at 11:36 AM

The rib stitches are not caused from being out of shape, its normally a muscle issue which can be fixed, i've had mind done a couple times by an AT. or they can go away.

I normally get them however I only get them on long runs, not sprints or CrossFit style workouts unless it is long run based WOD.

Also used to get shin splints but only on fast long ruck marches in the army, those too went away with stretching and time.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 11:57 AM

The reason I'm convinced that it may not take a long running-based workout is because my fellow beginner Crossfitter today complained of her rib stitches. (Pretty sure she's not paleo.) In any case, the workout was enough to give her stitches, and her mentioning it is what sparked my curiosity as to why I haven't felt them myself yet.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 17, 2011
at 11:58 AM

The reason I'm not convinced that rib stitches require a long running-based workout is because my fellow beginner Crossfitter today complained of her rib stitches after our workout. (Pretty sure she's not paleo.) In any case, the workout was enough to give her stitches, and her mentioning it is what sparked my curiosity as to why I haven't felt them myself yet.

C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on October 17, 2011
at 10:59 PM

I'm sure it will vary depending on the person, I only commented based on my experience i'm sure they can be causes by a number of different movements/level of intensity.

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