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Crohn’s Disease and Joint Pain: What’s the Connection?

People with Crohn’s disease have chronic inflammation inlining of their digestive tract. The exact cause of Crohn’s disease isn’t known, but this inflammation involves an overreaction of the immune system. The immune system mistakes harmless substances, like food, beneficial bacteria, or the intestinal tissue itself, for a threat and attacks them. Over time, this results in chronic inflammation. Sometimes, this overreaction can cause problems in other areas of the body outside the gastrointestinal tract. The most common is in the joints.

Crohn’s disease also has a genetic component. In other words, people with particular gene mutations are more susceptible to Crohn’s disease. Research has found that these same gene mutations are also related to other types of inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Arthritis is an inflammatory joint condition that causes pain in the joints. If you have Crohn’s disease, you may also be at an increased risk of arthritis.

Joint pain vs. arthritis

Two types of joint issues can occur if you have Crohn’s disease:

  • arthritis: pain with inflammation
  • arthralgia: pain without inflammation

If you have aching in your joints without swelling, then you have arthralgia. Roughly 40 to 50 percent trusted Source of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have arthralgia at some point in their lives. Crohn’s is a type of IBD. Arthralgia can occur in many different joints throughout your body. The most common places are your knees, ankles, and hands. Crohn’s disease arthralgia doesn’t cause damage to your joints.

Arthritis, on the other hand, means inflammation. If you have arthritis, your joints will be painful and also swollen. Arthritis may affect up to 20 percent trusted Source of those with Crohn’s disease. Arthritis that occurs with Crohn’s disease is a bit different from regular arthritis because it starts at a younger age.

What type of arthritis is most common in people with Crohn’s disease?

There are three major types of arthritis that can occur in people with Crohn’s disease.

Peripheral arthritis

A majority of arthritis that occurs in people with Crohn’s disease is called peripheral arthritis. This type of arthritis affects the large joints, such as those in your knees, ankles, elbows, wrists, and hips. The joint pain typically occurs at the same time as the stomach and bowel flare-ups. This type of arthritis typically doesn’t result in any joint erosion and lasting damage to the joints.

Symmetrical arthritis

A smaller percentage of those with Crohn’s disease have a type of arthritis known as symmetrical polyarthritis. Symmetrical polyarthritis can lead to inflammation in any of your joints, but it typically causes pain in the joints of your hands.

Ankylosing spondylitis

Finally, a small percentage of people with Crohn’s disease will develop a severe condition known as ankylosing spondylitis (AS). This progressive inflammatory condition affects your sacroiliac joints and spine. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in your lower spine and near the bottom of your back at the sacroiliac joints. Some people may even have symptoms of AS months or years before their Crohn’s disease symptoms appear. This type of arthritis can lead to permanent damage.

Treating joint pain

Normally, doctors would recommend using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin (Bufferin) or ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Aleve) to relieve joint pain and swelling. However, NSAIDs aren’t recommended for people with Crohn’s disease. They can irritate your intestinal lining and worsen your symptoms. For minor pain, your doctor may recommend using acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Several prescription drugs are available to help with joint pain. Many of these treatments overlap with Crohn’s disease medications:

  • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • corticosteroids
  • methotrexate
  • newer biologic agents such as infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), and certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)

In addition to medication, the following at-home techniques might help:

  • resting the affected joint
  • icing and elevating your joint
  • doing certain exercises to reduce stiffness and strengthen muscles around joints that can be prescribed by a physical or occupational therapist

Exercise helps improve the range of motion in your joints and also helps relieve stress. Low-impact cardio exercises like swimming, stationary biking, yoga, or tai chi as well as strength training may help.

When to see your doctor

If you’re experiencing joint pain, see your doctor. They may want to perform diagnostic tests to rule out other causes of your pain. Your doctor may also want to adjust your Crohn’s disease medications. Occasionally, joint pain could be related to the side effects of your medication.

Your doctor can recommend a physical therapist to help you develop an exercise program for your joints.

Outlook for joint pain

Joint pain for people with Crohn’s disease typically lasts only a short time and usually doesn’t result in permanent deformity. Your joint pain will improve as your intestinal symptoms improve. With gastrointestinal symptoms tamed through medication and diet, the outlook for your joints is generally good.

However, if you’ve also received an AS diagnosis, the outlook is more variable. Some people improve over time, while others get progressively worse. With modern treatments, life expectancy for people with AS typically isn’t affected.

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Pain Relief

Irish Botanica® Throat Coat Oral Spray – 30ml

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Chi Detox Patches

We all carry toxins around in our body. They accumulate as we live: nasties like environmental poisons, chemicals we breathe in or ingest, waste products from foods all get stored in our body tissue. Chi Detox Patches are a unique, non-invasive way to help detox the whole body. Each patch contains a unique formula of highly purified powder extract of a blend of herbs and minerals used in Chinese Medicine. They target the reflex points under our feet, which have 62 acupuncture points.

Simply apply them at night. When you remove the patches in the morning, you can see the changes: their colour will show you that they have absorbed sweat from your feet over night.

Enjoy a free pair of Chi socks with every purchase – while stocks last!

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Botanical Syrup the solution to a stubborn cough

Irish Botanica Botanical Syrup has helped many to find relief for the first time from a stubborn cough

Irish Botanica Botanical Syrup is a cough remedy that I told you about last year. Many of you who tried it found it amazing and got relief for the first time from a stubborn cough. But, unfortunately, the suppliers ran out of stock and left many of you disappointed that you couldn’t try it for yourself. Nobody could have predicted the demand. The good news is that it’s back in stock and your local health store should be able to order it in for you.

Botanical Syrup was developed by Medicinal Herbalist David Foley. Botanical Syrup contains herbs which can help ease all stubborn and difficult to shift coughs, clear congestion, decrease mucus, and relieve the symptoms of asthma, hay fever, and bronchitis. What’s great about the blend is that as well as the herbs to treat coughs it also contains Vitamin C, Liquorice and Ginseng which are included for their immune supporting properties and also their ability to relieve the effects of stress on the body.

It’s a fantastic combination of herbs which work well together including White Horehound which can decrease and thin the mucus in the bronchial tubes and lungs.

Mullein is used to help clear congestion and phlegm. Plantain eases sore throats, coughs, and bronchitis. It protects and strengthens the lining of the throat and lungs. Cinnamon is included for its mild antiseptic properties. Ginseng will help your body cope with stress and at the same time it will support immune function helping you to stay well. Aniseed helps clear mucus from the airways, and adds the flavour to the mix. Liquorice will help to reduce dryness and has an anti-spasmodic effect helping to ease a cough.

Last year I had amazing feedback from people all around the country. Many of you also told your friends and family about how effective it was. I would say that approx. 8 out of 10 people who tried it got relief from a stubborn cough. So I’m happy to remind you of it so you can see if it can help you too. Remember to check with your doctor if you’re on medication.

If you too have a stubborn cough then it might be worth your while trying this remedy, Botanical Syrup, it’s a fantastic Irish made product

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