I’ve had Crohn’s for only a short time, in comparison to many.. I started the painful symptoms in January 2007. The first several months, I didn’t have pain medication to cope. In hindsight, I wonder how I did manage, because the pain is just so terrible.
Today, I came across a post that referred the pain of crohn’s to being close to labor.. not that it’s so much similar in the pain, but the intenseness of it. For me, I find this to be true. One of the more intense labor pains I would have would be intense pain in my upper thigh.. no, not really my thigh, more like the bend of my legs, but radiating down into my upper thigh. So the pain would go from abdomen to upper thigh… intense, mind consuming pain.
Only recently have I started feeling that upper-thigh pain in relation to my crohn’s.. I thought it odd, but immediately likened it to labor pains.
So, how to manage this pain? No easy answers for any of us.
First, if the pain is very bad, you need to consider if going to the ER is the best option. Most ER’s are going to be very willing to give you pain medication.. keep asking.. and if they aren’t helping, ask again. It’s your body, your pain, be pushy about it.. My doctor tells me, “It is absolutely unreasonable for you to be in so much pain.” The ER will probably take some xrays and do a CT scan – both of which are quick and simple, painless.. and will clue you in to what is going on, why you are having so much pain and what the next step may be to do.
But if you’re dealing with normal, day to day pain of crohn’s, I find relief in a warm bath. I like to have some bubbles too.. the girly in me, I guess. But a nice warm bath seems to reach deep inside my body and soothe the aches and pains I’m dealing with. I take a book, a glass of tea or other and plan to soak for as long as necessary, adding some hot water as needed.
When I am having upper abdomen issues, which have been known to cause me to puke with little warning (not a good thing when you’re working with customers!).. I do a lot of slow, calming deep breaths.. in and out.. very calm.. this again, was something I picked up for labor pains.. it helped with that.. and it’s been very helpful with crohn’s.
Watch what you eat, when you eat, etc you may also find foods that irritate and make you feel much more crummy… take note and avoid!
Being able to lie down.. or more accurately, lie still seems to calm the body. Stress is an enemy and when I am very stressed, I find I’m likely to be in more pain. So being able to lie down, quietly and relax.. it’s almost as good as a bath.. especially if you use a warm compress, like a heating pad or a microwave heatable rice pack.
When I am having really intense pain, I don’t particularly like to be touched, and Crohn’s is no different.. but when I’m just sore and achy and generally not feeling well, I do like to have a massage – not a deep, down muscle rub, but a gentle, loving touch, that glides over my skin or clothing. Just something gentle and soothing.. deep down rubs tend to make me feel more sore in the long run (unless I’m feeling well and then, well, go baby, go!).
With Crohn’s, depression can be a side effect. Being depressed and in pain is no way to live life.. at least, from my view point. I have 4 kids, 4 dogs, a wonderful husband.. a good life.. I don’t want to live it in tears and pain.. not if I can do anything to keep from it. I take anti-depressant to help.. and my doctor said the particular one I take also has been shown to reduce some pain. Now, having been on this almost a year, I’m going to say I don’t see anything in the way or reducing pain… but I am not in tears all the time, I am not holing myself away, avoiding people, etc.. and that, in and of itself is a good enough form of pain relief for me.. it’s pain relief for the soul.
Maybe I’m lucky, but my doctor is very good about prescribing me pain medication. I was taking vicodin, but we’ve since had to up that to percocet and norco (norco is the equivelant of 2 vicodin, double the hydrocodone without as much acetaminophen). My concern was, like many, addiction.. my doctor and I have discussed this at length, many times (to the point he laugh about it) because I worry so much about it.. in the end, I take it, and I war with myself on how much I take, how much pain I am in, etc.
I know there are other ways of coping with crohns pain.. these are just some of mine..