Joint Injury and Disease Information, Treatment and Pain Relief
 

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Treating and Managing Crohn's Disease

Can I be cured?

Currently, there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, but therapies can help to greatly decrease the severity of symptoms, and even cause the disease to go into remission for long periods of time.

Can it be prevented?

As the cause and cure for Crohn’s disease are both unknown, there is no real way to prevent Crohn’s disease. The only real course of action is to receive treatment and make lifestyle changes to ease the discomfort and suffering resulting from symptoms.

What about lifestyle changes?

Though lifestyle changes will not cure Crohn’s, they can certainly ease your symptoms and help prevent flare-ups. Lifestyle changes that can help with Crohn’s disease include:

Diet. A healthy diet can reduce your symptoms and help control painful flare-ups. If you are unsure of what your diet should entail, consult a dietician for guidance. Some things that you can change in your diet include:

  • Limit your intake of dairy products
  • Eat low fat foods (avoid sugary foods and processed foods, such as packaged sweets and snacks)
  • Eat high fiber foods – though this can potentially make pain worse due to bowel movements
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D
  • Avoid eating and drinking things that make symptoms worse – for example, spicy food, alcohol, caffeine
  • Drink plenty of water daily

Regular Exercise. Once your flare up is under control or has subsided, exercise is a good treatment and preventative measure. Activities such as swimming, walking, and cross-country skiing (Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates are good activities to participate in too) can help you strengthen your joints and muscles, without putting undo stress on your body, especially if you have developed complications (arthritis) with the disease.

Relax. Developing good relaxation and coping skills can give you a greater feeling of control over your arthritis and a more positive outlook. Try deep breathing exercises. Listen to music or relaxation tapes.

What are my treatment options?

As the cause and cure of Crohn’s disease are both uncertain, the purpose of treatment for Crohn’s disease is to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. Some treatments/medications used for this purpose include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs. Anti-inflammatory drugs are often the first step in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), which can be effective in reducing symptoms of the disease, but has a number of side effects, including nausea, vomiting, heartburn and headache, and Mesalamine (Asacol, Rowasa). This medication tends to have fewer side effects.
  • Aminosalicylates such as sulfasalazine or mesalazine. Aminosalicylates may relieve symptoms and inflammation in the intestines and help it go into remission. They also may help prevent the disease from becoming active again.
  • Antibiotics. Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and metronidazole may be tried if aminosalicylates are not helping your symptoms. These medicines work especially well for disease in the colon.
  • Anti-diarrheals. Mild symptoms may respond to loperamide (Imodium, for example), which slows or stops the painful spasms in your intestines that cause symptoms.
  • Corticosteroids such as budesonide or prednisone, may be given by mouth for a few weeks or months to control inflammation. If arthritis becomes a complication of your Crohn’s, your doctor may also administer injections into the affected joints. Corticosteroids have serious side effects, such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and increased risk of infection.
  • Immune system suppressors. Medicines that suppress the immune system, such as azathioprine (AZA), 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP), or methotrexate may be prescribed if the medicines listed previously do not work.
  • Laxatives. In some cases, swelling may cause your intestines to narrow, leading to constipation. Talk to your doctor before taking laxatives, because even those sold over-the-counter may be too harsh for your system.
  • Iron supplements. In Crohn's disease, absorption problems can occur with iron in the upper small intestine. Some people with rectal bleeding also may lose iron. Supplements may help restore your iron levels to normal.
  • Nutrition. Some severe cases of Crohn's disease need to be treated in the hospital where you would receive supplemental nutrition through a tube placed in your nose and down into the stomach (enteral nutrition). In other cases, the bowel may need to rest, and you will be fed liquid nutrients in a vein (total parenteral nutrition, TPN).
  • Vitamin B-12 injections. In Crohn's disease, absorption problems can occur resulting in a lack of vitamin B12 in the lower small intestine. B-12 injections can help you maintain the proper balance in your intestine. Vitamin B-12 helps prevent anemia, promotes normal growth and development, and is essential for proper nerve function.
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements. Most people with Crohn's disease need to take a calcium supplement with added vitamin D. This is because Crohn's disease itself and steroids can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Ask your doctor if a calcium supplement is right for you.
  • Surgery. Surgery may be needed if no medicine is effective, you have serious side effects from medicine, your symptoms can be controlled only with long-term use of corticosteroids, or you develop complications such as fistulas, abscesses, or bowel obstructions.

What about pain-relieving and preventative measures?

While you’re recovering from your flare-up, the following options can bring you pain relief due to complications and help speed your recovery:

  • Acetaminophen. For pain relief and as a preventative measure, acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example) may help.
  • Exercise. Once your Crohn’s flare-up is under control, exercise is a good treatment and preventative measure. Activities such as swimming, walking, and cross-country skiing (Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates are good activities to participate in too) can help you strengthen your joints and muscles.
  • Cold wrap therapy. Cold compression wraps interrupt pain signals and reduce inflammation. Arthritis immobilizes your joints by inducing swelling in the surrounding tissue. The deep cold provided by cold compression wraps slows this process. Cold wraps numb the nerves to reduce the pain. In the early stages of your infection, controlling inflammation is extremely important, especially because inflammation also strains the surrounding tissue causing more pain and damage.

    If you don't have a cold compression wrap for managing your Crohn’s-related arthritis pain, an important and safe treatment method is being ignored. Our MendMeShop store contains a wide selection of cold compression wraps.

    Combine heat therapy. To increase blood flow and circulation, try combining heat therapy with cold compression. We offer hot packs for our wraps as well.


  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to do daily. Range of motion exercises reduce stiffness and help keep your joints moving. As well, a therapist can provide pain relief through movement and massage.
  • Ultrasound therapy. Ultrasound therapy is a great option to decrease inflammation, pain, tension and soft tissue damage experienced with Crohn’s-related arthritis. You can administer your own therapy using a portable, home ultrasound device. The treatment is easy, painless, safe, and generally requires between 5 - 10 minutes. It is based on a form of deep tissue therapy, which is generated through high frequency sound waves (that we can not hear). These waves send vibrations deep into your body and raise the temperature of your soft tissue. The waves are delivered through a hand held transducer and medicinal conductive gel that are used together in a slow, circular motion on your skin over the affected area. You may experience a slight tingling or warm sensation during the process as a result of the gel; this enhances the therapeutic effects of ultrasound (phonophoresis). You deserve specialized, professional care. Get your own ultrasound kit from MendMeShop.
  • Note: Ultrasound therapy may help with your Crohn's-related arthritis, but talk to your doctor first.

  • Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy. When your joint is inflamed, it needs the blood flow to promote recovery. Since you can't work your swollen joint without excruciating pain, you need to stimulate the blood flow another way. A very effective way of doing this is with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy. The Inferno Wraps energy penetrates the body. As it is absorbed it stimulates blood flow and warms the inner tissue. It is perfectly safe, natural, and very effective.


  • Do you have more questions?

    If you have any questions regarding our therapeutic products and your treatment options, please contact a MendMeShop Advisor for assistance. You can be assured all your questions will be answered in a thorough and courteous manner by our trained staff.

    Within Continental US and Canada call toll 1-866-237-9608

    International Callers 705-445-3505

    Email us at service@aidmyjoints.com.

    We strive to answer all emails within 24 hours. Often you will receive your response sooner.

    Our Office Hours

    Monday, Tuesday 9:00am to 8:00pm (Eastern Standard Time)
    Wednesday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm (Eastern Standard Time)

 

Joint Facts:


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