Phoenix Rehab Novena Clinic Launch

Dear doctors, patients and friends, we are going to launch Phoenix Rehab @ Novena tentatively on Monday, 8th January 2018 (see clinic location and details here), subject to finalizations related to renovations and pre-launch activities. There is lots more to do, including the completion and upgrading of this website, but we are very excited for this opportunity to serve you.

Update you soonest!

Phoenix Rehab Group

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Physiotherapy | Physiotherapist Clinic Singapore - Dealing with side stitches

Side stitches, plural for a side stitch, is also known as side cramps, side aches or stitches) and it's characterized by very acute and intense stab-like pain under the lower part of our rib cage that happens when we exercise.

It's also been referred as ETAP, which is exercise related transient abdominal pain. A common favorite theory about why it happens is because our internal organs such as the liver and stomach pulls downward on the diaphragm, or the diaphragm "knocking" the soft tissues causing pain because of poor stepping mechanics as one runs.There's been quite a number of articles that suggests symptoms can be reduced by adjusting at what point your stride or step is as you inhale to prevent the "knocking".

Thing is, side stitches also frequently happens to swimmers or people who swims, and here is where the original theory falls flat - there is not "knocking" or diaphragm with the stomach or liver because there is no stepping or vertical forces, yet the pain due to stitches is there. If the pain is there only when exercising and no pain is present during rest/non-exercise, then one can conclude there should not be any problems.

Common Causes

There are four common theories regarding the causes of this condition:

  • Stretching of the visceral ligaments due to repeated vertical translation and jolting (as mentioned above)
  • Autotransfusion, the contracting of the soft tissues such as liver or spleen, which can work extra hard when necessary to squeeze extra oxygen-rich red blood cells into circulation. This increases exercise capacity but is often associated with severe and sharp pain, which is relieved only by rest. A possible mechanism for pain is that because of high pressure in the liver or spleen may restrict blood flow, causing hypoxia (decreased oxygen supply)
  • Ischemia of the diaphragm
  • Imbalances within/of the thoracic spine
  • Peritoneal parietal irritation

Why so many varieties is because of the prevalence of side stitches during swimming. Interestingly, these stabbing pain often affects the right side of the body as compared to the left - possibly because the largest organ in the abdominal cavity, which is our liver, is on our right side of our body.

Some athletes have also reported pain at the very tip of their shoulder blade (at the bottom most point of the scapula). This is often caused by referred pain through the phrenic nerve for the diaphragm. Often, when the side stitch is on the right side, most published advice is to try and exhale when your left foot/stride strikes the ground.

How To Prevent   

  • Stay Hydrated - drink frequently in small sips before and during exercises. Dehydration is a relatively common cause of side stitches (increases muscle contractility)
  • Increase Condition and fitness levels by following an exercise regime
  • Strengthen Your Lungs - strengthen your diaphragm by using exercises such as those used for chest physiotherapy. One of the exercises is to prolong your exhalation for as long as possible, about 10 times per day. Aim to hit 10-15 seconds of exhalation.
  • Strengthen Your Core (abdominals, lower back, obliques)
  • Don't consume or at least limit your food and drink two to three hours before exercising (especially high sugar/carbohydrate content)
  • Warm Up Well - take five to ten minutes to increase your heart rate and get your blood pumping throughout your body before starting your exercises and activities
  • Build Intensity Gradually - start slow then gradually build up speed and intensity
  • Run On Soft Ground
  • Breath Deep
  • Slow The Pace - of all activities and exercises, until you're fully warmed up and well versed

Physiotherapy Treatment

Where to next?

  1. Make An Physiotherapy or Hand Therapy Appointment
  2. Arrange A CallBack or Make An E-Enquiry Here
  3. See the list of physiotherapy conditions we treat
  4. Return to Urbanrehab's Physiotherapy and Hand Therapy Singapore Home Page from our Side Stitches Page
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Our Physio & Rehab Expertise

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and specialist rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.

Areas of specialization

  • physiotherapy: back and neck (spine), sports, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle
  • hand therapy: forearm, wrist, hand and fingers
  • podiatrist: leg, calf, ankle, foot and toes
  • read more on our specializations here

All our therapists are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCM). See our entire team here by location and specialization.

Initially, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover. They then provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

To call for inquiries or appointments, please contact us at:

SMS/Call/Whatsapp: 96402670


Tell A Friend About Us

We appreciate you as a patient and want you to know that the #1 way we grow as a clinic is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We do not rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients.

When you have the opportunity, please take the time to tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our clinic.

Thank you so much, and stay healthy!

Please Call/SMS/WhatsApp to
xx, thanks!


We are a wholly Singapore Private Limited group of licensed physiotherapists, hand therapists, podiatrists, chiropractors, sports massage therapists, clinical pilates practitioners and TCM physicians practicing in our scope of rehabilitation and its areas of specializations.

As listed in our website are the list of services we provide our clients as referred by their medical doctors or by self referrals/word of mouth, but you can also make an appointment without seeing any doctors (that being said, if you do need a referral to a specialist orthopedic surgeon or sports GP, we will recommend you too as value added service at no additional costs to you).

The range of rehabilitation results vary from patients to patients, depending on a variety of factors and reasons such as severity of condition, genetics, gender and age. However, we will still deliver the best evidence-based-practice of physiotherapy, hand therapy, TCM, sports training and deep tissue release therapy that we can deliver (we are proud to say that we try our best to only engage the most experienced and specialist therapists - which makes a big difference in clinical outcomes).

The information available on this site is for educational purposes only, if you need a full professional advise on physiotherapy, hand therapy and occupational therapy, please schedule an appointment with us by contacting our staff by Call/SMS/WhatsApp at xx or email, thanks!




You can also text or WhatsApp and we will call you back too =)


Physio, Rehab &  Insurance

Your physio, hand therapy and rehab with us may be covered under your medical insurance or cashless - find out more here.


Acupuncture TCM
Balance Physiotherapy
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Cold Therapy Physio
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Deep Tissue Massage
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Heat Physiotherapy
Home Physiotherapy
Ice Physiotherapy
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Post Amputee Physiotherapy
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Physiotherapy Singapore
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Physiotherapy Stress Relief
Swelling Physiotherapy
TENS Physiotherapy
Tension Headaches Physiotherapy
Thermal Physiotherapy
Traction Back Physiotherapy
Trigger Point Physiotherapy
Ultrasound Physiotherapy
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Finally I know what I have, my pain decreased and now I'm back to work!

Regional Sales Manager

OMG. The pain levels in my hands have dropped dramatically, about 60-70%


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