Pain in the bellybutton while stretching can range from a mild annoyance to a severe ache. It can occur gradually and worsen over time. Pain can be accompanied by warmth, bruising, tenderness, skin discoloration, swelling, fever, an increase in urination, difficulty walking, vomiting and lack of appetite. Pain can also develop in other areas of the body such as the thighs, right or left side of the abdomen or back.
You can develop pain in the bellybutton area when stretching if you overuse the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the abdomen with excessive exercise, stretching or movement. It can also occur if you strain or sprain a muscle or ligament with sudden changes of direction or by using improper form while stretching or exercising. Blunt force trauma, such as falling or coming into contact with a hard object while stretching, can also result in abdominal pain. While some medical conditions may not require a doctor's care, such as constipation, other painful conditions such as appendicitis, umbilical hernias, interstitial cystitis and blunt force trauma require medical attention.
If your abdominal muscles are strained and painful, refrain from stretching or exercising for about 48 hours to help reduce pain and swelling. Place an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables against your bellybutton for about 20 minutes at a time to help constrict blood vessels and reduce pain. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods such as whole-grain breads and peas and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent constipation. See a doctor if you suspect appendicitis or an umbilical hernia, which often requires surgical treatment.
Seek medical attention if pain in the bellybutton is severe, sudden or becomes constant. In addition, contact a doctor immediately if pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, a high body temperature or you are spitting up dark green bile. These could be symptoms of a serious complication such as an incarcerated hernia or intestinal obstruction, which can be life threatening if left untreated.