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Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Arthritis


You know that arthritic joint pain you have? It could be directly related to your IBD. A high percentage of people with conditions like IBS and colitis also suffer from other pain syndromes. This can also include chronic headaches. The reason is that every nerve in your body is connected to a nerve that runs through your colon. Kinda like the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone. So when you have an erosion in the intestinal tissue that goes deep enough to give you chronic intestinal pain that means that the nerve tissue is being impacted by your digestive acids and food passing over the already inflamed tissue.
This then causes what I call the “christmas tree effect.” It can light up the whole nervous system causing pain anywhere. This will typically occur in places with much physical pressure like joints. This chronic inflammation will over time cause changes to the localized tissue which may include calcification of the joint—stealing calcium from the skeleton to buffer the inflammation and protecting it-hence stiffness. Upon the examination of an x-ray your doctor will likely announce that you have osteo-arthritis and tell you there is nothing they can do. They are right—–there is nothing that THEY can do. That does not mean there is not anything that someone else can do.

I once treated a concert pianist for crohn’s disease who’s hands had become almost frozen with arthritis. He was very depressed as this prevented him from doing what he loved the most. He scoffed when I told him that as his crohn’s improved so would his arthritis. In fact we had many very loud arguments over this. Over several months of treatment in which his crohn’s showed marked improvement he begrudgingly acknowledged that maybe there was a very little improvement but it could not be from my IBD treatment. We went at it like this for months. Eventually as his crohn’s improved he declined further treatment and we lost contact. Several years afterwards purely by chance we met up in a social setting. As we shook hands I noticed his strong-firm grip and looked him straight in the eye and asked him if he had be playing the piano much these days. He looked back and with a wry smile said ‘yes.’
So if you suffer from any inflammatory bowel condition and also any kind of chronic pain such as arthritis or migraine headaches don’t despair you may be able to kill 2 birds with one stone.

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