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Crohn's and back pain

Being a newbie to Crohn's Im still trying to establish what symptoms are caused by crohn's or not.... I have been experiencing really bad lower back pain from the start I have also had inflammation in my ankles and knees but over the last couple of weeks my upper back has gotten really bad to the point where it is waking me up cause I can't sleep anymore from the pain and then it continues for the rest of the day. I had original put it down to my bed causing it as its a fairly new bed we got it 4 weeks before I started getting sick but those 4 weeks were the best sleep I had every had, however that was not to last as once I got sick I struggle to sleep comfortably due to my lower back but this happened no matter what I slept on.

Anyway Im now wondering if anyone else has severe back pain as well from crohns and trouble sleeping due to it? I also only tapered off pred a week ago and my back pain prior to that had been tolerable but since has gotten heaps worse so could this have been helping with my back pain?

Thanks for any info you may be able to provide me :)


One Badass Dude
Hi Tan!

Glad you've decided to join us.

Back and joint pains are quite common among Crohn's sufferers, and could be caused by any of a number of things. Definitely get it checked out. Maybe start by documenting the frequency, severity and location of the pain attacks.

Being recently diagnosed, you've probably got all sorts of issues and questions that need sorting out. Write it all down and bring it up with your doctors.

In the meantime, you've got a whole online community of folks to help you every step of the way.
I never used to have back pain until I developed Crohn's now I have back pains all the time and it gets worse If I am flaring.
Thanks guys for your quick response... yes will start keeping a diary of what is happening with my pain to try and establish what is causing it. I dare say it probably is crohns but who really knows. I probably will have to go to the doctors this week anyway as I have noticed a pimply rash on my face, neck and back so not sure if Im having a reaction to the meds Im on?
Anyway thanks again for your support and answers. :)
Hi and welcome!

I've had lower back and hip pain/stiffness for years prior to getting diagnosed with a Crohn's flare. I expect these are related as people with the disease also can get inflammation in the joints. That may be why the pain was better with the steroids, but also the pain could be referred from the bowels to your back. When I flared I had pain in my back that was very different from the usual pain I have had in the past.
Now, my back is fine but I get really stiff/sore hips after excercise. Dunno if it's Crohns as I have had it for ages pre-crohns and it feels mostly muscular, but it's been bad-ish lately so I must ask about it.
Sorry to hear you have this stupid disease. I hope you find this place as helpful as I have :)
I have terrible back pain which also is stopping me from having any more than 4-5 hours sleep.

I also get a HUGE RUSH of pain surge in my back when I get an adrenalin rush (anything from a fright to anger) and no one can tell me what it is, but some have hinted I might have adrenal fatigue from being stressed.

Maybe someone else experiences this surge of back pain when they get an adrenalin rush?
Although I have a minor back injury I have other joint and back pains - like my neck which feels like someone has poured gravel in it! IIRC the stats are something like 25% of Crohnies get some form of arthritis - in fact there is Peripheral Arthritis, sometimes also referred to as Crohn's Peripheral or Related Arthritis.

The rash, you should mention to your GP/Doc's as soon as poss as azathioprine (Imuran) can do some funny things.
I never knew that aches and pains were also to do with crohn's (christ i need to learn how to spell Crohn's - im always editing my errors!).

When I was around 22-23 I got Glandular fever, then Chronic Fatigue and when that all really subsided all that was left was a smoldering belly (literally). I would feel gassy and my joints and back began to hurt.

So quickly I went from being an avid soccer player to someone made literally of glass. I injure very easily, especially bruises that do not repair that quick.

It is terrible how this disease really affects nearly every single part of your body!
Thanks again for your post they are very helpful in knowing that others experience the same type of symptoms.

Thanks Beth, I had read a lot of people with Crohns experience joint pain including the back but mostly read it was all in the lower back... my pain started out lower back and still is there but over the last few weeks it has also traveled up my back into my mid back region. Its too the point where Im in pain all the time at the moment and nothing I seem to do ie get a massage or see a physio help... not even a hot shower. Its just so frustrating to be in pain all the time, really gets you down.

I will also call my GI tomorrow regarding my rash as he had said if I get any reaction/side effects to call him so will see what he has to say. It has actually gotten a little worse my legs now look like nice red pocka dot stockings.. ha..ha.. very attractive indeed!!
I will mention the severe upper back pain as it only really started over the last couple of weeks and I have stopped the pred so maybe its part of that, at least it wont hurt to mention it he might give me something for the pain at least for the night time anyway.

Thanks again its nice knowing there are others out in the world to talk and bounce questions off of.
Well, for me, I noticed that after being on Prednisone for a while, I started getting pretty bad back pain. I mentioned it to the doc, and she said that it could be caused by stomach irritation and acid reflux due to the harshness of the Pred. So they prescribed Aciphex for acid reflux, and after taking it for several days, the back pain improved greatly. I now only get it once in a while. Also, sometimes I get back pain due to gas. So here are my suggestions: definitely mention it to the doc. In the mean time, try some over the counter antacids, like Tums or Rolaids. And you can also try something for gas relief. See if that helps at all.

Best of luck to you! I hope that you figure it out and get to feeling better.
Well spoke with my GI today he doesn't think my rash is from the Imuran as Im going into my fifth week but I have gone for blood tests to check all my levels and he did say I could go off it for a few days but not sure whether I should or not.

I have also been put back on pred as over the last 4 days have been going back down hill till the point today Im really struggling with nausea, appetite and body aches/pains and bad right abdo pain. I went off pred last tues so I must not have had the flare under control yet. Not sure how long Im on it this time but it doesn't seem to effect me too much the only side effects I seem to get is the lovely moon face (still got it from last time), increase in facial hair & I do have sleepless nights but can take mild sleeping tablets to help with that.

I just hope this time it get my flare under control and by that time the Imuran has fully kicked in and I can get too remission. Im just struggling at the moment as Im so new to the disease and have felt not bad the last 8 weeks that it feels like a slap in the face. I realise its something I have for the rest of my life and that flares will always happen.. of well just having an off day thats all. Hopefully the pred works soon then I will start to pick up just in time for my hubby christmas party on sat night! :)
Autumn Rose - Thanks for the insight I actually have been getting really bad heartburn recently which I have never experience before in my life. I didn't realise how severe and painfully it can be... felt like I was seriously having a heart attack. In regards to medication I am already on Somac 40mg once daily for reflux but it also is meant to treat heartburn so thats a little scary that Im still getting the heartburn. I have been on this medication for many years as I was diagnosed with reflux 11 years ago when I was 17... now wonder if its all linked with the crohns?? So Im not sure if I can take anything else on top of what Im already taking but will ask the GI when I speak to him next that is if its still annoying me.


One Badass Dude
Hey Tan....

Keep up the Yoga!

My back pain is because of Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a debilitating autoimmune form of arthritis sometimes associated with Crohn's sufferers. It does trend overwhelmingly to males, but it can happen with females. Something like a 4-1 ratio Male to Female.

If in fact this is your problem, your best antidote is stretching. Nip it in the bud.
Thanks for the tip Johnny.. I actually started Yoga only 4 weeks before getting sick at the end of Aug so maybe I knew something was lurking for me in the near in the future!! LOL It does seem to help with my back as well as my other joint pain which is associated with the crohns, well Im assuming anyway seeing as it only reared its ugly head after I got sick.
I went to physio this afternoon and he has given me heaps of good stretching excercises so will start doing them every afternoon and incorperate some yoga stretches as well... def gotta get on top of it.

Thanks again it really helps to hear what others experience and treatments etc.
prednisolone can cause joint inflamation as i have this problem have you asked your doctor to check your inflamatory markers to check for arthritus coz this is also common with crohns hope this helpsxxx
There are several mycoplasma bacteria that are associated with Arthritis. In my opinion Arthritis is often, but possibly not always, caused by one bacteria or another.
The most common bacteria being Mycoplasma Pneumonia.

When you take an immune suppressant, the bacteria now have the ability to increase to greater numbers and the symptoms increase as a result.

That is the reason for the reaction, from what information I have gathered on the subject. Of course there is always the possibility that I am wrong.

stafford23@btinternet.com said:
prednisolone can cause joint inflamation as i have this problem have you asked your doctor to check your inflamatory markers to check for arthritus coz this is also common with crohns hope this helpsxxx
I am curious about this. How can Pred cause joint inflammation if it works as an anti-inflammatory?
Since they tapered off Prednisone already, I am guessing the antiinflammatory effect is long gone by now. But I really do not know how long that takes to happen.

Hi Tan,
Sorry to hear about your back and joint pain. I suffered from a similar problem when i tapered off pred last year. about 2 to 3 weeks after i started with what i can only describe as travelling joint pain. one day it was a shoulder the next knees.
I've since had a neurologist rule out nerve damage. and i'm now under the care of a Rheumatologist for the past year. He's told me i have Crohn's related Arthritis.