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The causes of exercise related transient abdominal pain remain to be elucidated
Stitch, side ache, and side cramp are terms that have been used to describe an undesirable accompaniment to exercise that is well known but poorly understood. Whereas references to the pain can be found in the works of Shakespeare and Pliny the Elder, the complaint has received little attention in the medical literature. In fact, until a recent spate of investigations, no empirical studies of the pain had been published since 1951.1
“The pain is mostly described as sharp or stabbing when severe, and cramping, aching, or pulling when less intense.”
Indeed, there is a wealth of anecdotal information relating to aspects of the condition, such as its symptoms, provocation, treatment, and cause. In a recent publication, in which the ailment was labelled exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP), an epidemiological approach was adopted to explore the various and diverse explanations of the pain.2 ETAP was shown to be remarkably similar in its manifestation when described by symptomatic people involved in various sporting …