If you have Crohn’s Disease you are familiar with pain. Not just a ‘pain’, but the whole repertoire of pain sensations that the human body can manufacture. Sometimes you might be treated to a solo rendition that can be quietened down with over the counter meds, but more often than not Crohn’s pulls out all the stops and decides to delight you with a symphony performance that inclues the equivalent of timpani drums and death metal guitars. You might think that the pain is limited to bowels (it is after all Inflammatory Bowel Disease) but oh no, if Crohn’s can drag in other parts of the body, it will!
- Cramping of bowels – this ranges from ‘Oh that Jalfrezi was probably a little hot for me’ through to whole body spasms that are akin to extreme forms of food posioning
- Aching of joints and muscles – some mornings it takes me about 10 minutes moving around and a warm shower to get going
- Needling of nerves – this can occur if you suffer from abscesses related to crohn’s – the abscesses fill with fluid and press against nerves, sometimes feeling like the nerve is trapped against other organs or bones – the pain seems to transfer to them too.
- Lemon juice in a cut type feeling – crohn’s causes ulceration and inflammation of the GI tract – and sometimes it really does feel like getting lemon juice in a cut, or eating crisps when you have a mouth ulcer.
- Fainting – Sometimes the cramping and the needling can be so painful that I zone out for a second, feeling a littel faint – sometimes can faint slightly.
- Battlezone feeling – sometimes it feels like my bowels, uterus, bladder and pretty much everything in my lower abdomen is engaged in some kind of battle, twisting and squirming around causing a difficult to define but wide ranging pain. If you have children, it is a little like the sensation of a baby moving inside you, but very painful.
As well as the pain, your body brings in some other bits and pieces:
- Headaches – all sorts of reasons why these might occur, but one reason is that your body builds up so much tension when you are in pain = tension headache
- Sickness – possibly as a reult of the cramping, causing your stomach to churn or just beacuse crohn’s affects you there as well.
- Tiredness – can feel like a little fatigue through to utter exhaustion which causes you to fall asleep the moment you stop.
And how does this manifest itself externally? People with Crohn’s may:
- Seem a little distracted when they are trying to get through a spasm of pain
- Carry out self soothing behaviour, such as absent mindedly rubbing or holding sore spots on their belly
- Look like they had a very indulgent and intoxicated evening the night before and have come straight from the party without bothering to sleep – sadly that probably isn’t the case!
- Not want to eat or drink
- Want to be left alone (because being in this much pain can reduce tolerance levels for other people)
- Not want to be on their own (it can be scary being on your own and in this much pain)
- Look very flushed
- Look very pale
- Go quite a spectacular green colour
I’m interested in how you describe your aches and pains and how do they manifest themselves externally?