Crohn's disease is a disorder of the bowels that causes continual inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. This disease, which is often hereditary, affects the small bowel, colon and any other part of the digestive system. In addition to common symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea, Crohn's patients often experience back pain and stiffness due to the development of sacroiliitis. This condition occurs when there is inflammation on either side of the lower spine in the sacroiliac joint. If you have sacroiliitis caused by Crohn's disease, read the information below to learn how you can relieve pain in your lower back.
Use Heat Therapy
Placing a heating pad, hot water bottle or a warm gel pack on your lower back helps reduce sacroiliitis back pain in several ways. The warm sensation gets the blood flowing as it dilates the blood vessels in the muscles. This rebuilds damaged tissue by increasing the flow of oxygen.
Warmth also stimulates the nerve endings in the skin and decreases the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Heat also reduces stiffness and makes your back more stretchable by expanding the soft tissue and muscles around the spine.
When using heat therapy to ease back pain, place the source of heat on your lower back for 15 to 20 minutes. If you are using a hot water bottle, make sure the water is not too hot that it causes burns or discomfort.
Adjust Your Sleep Position
If your lower back pain is worse in the morning and you feel stiff getting out of bed, it may be your sleep position. Certain sleep positions lessen back pain for people who have sacroiliitis due to Crohn's disease. After getting into bed, rest on your back, bend your knees slightly and position a pillow underneath your knees.
If your back pain feels worse when you are standing, you can benefit from sleeping in a recliner or in a bed that adjusts at the head. When you sleep with your head up and your knees tucked up in front of you, this helps alleviate pressure off the lower back.
Practice Spine Exercises
When you exercise your spine, you are forcing movement in the lumbar region, which helps reduce stiffness and pain. Follow the steps below to exercise your lower back.
- Situate yourself in a prone position on the floor.
- Bend both legs at the knees while keeping your feet flat.
- Move both knees simultaneously from side to side while keeping your spine still.
- Continue moving your knees back and forth for 30 seconds.
Maintain Good Posture
When you have sacroiliitis and Crohn's disease, it is essential that you watch your posture to keep your entire body balanced and supported. If you slouch while standing or sitting, this strains your lower back muscles and puts added stress on your spine. A habit of not sitting up straight will cause the ligaments in your spine to stretch out and strain the discs.
To keep your back from becoming sore while sitting in a chair, keep your back and shoulders straight against the back of the chair. Avoid leaning forward and keep your feet even on the floor in front of your body. If necessary, use a footstool so your feet will not be dangling.
If possible, get up out of your chair frequently and take short walks if your back begins to feel tired or achy. As you are walking, keep most of your weight on the balls of your feet and do not walk on your heels. Stand up straight, keep your feet aligned with your shoulders and keep your arms down at your sides.
By following the tips above, you can minimize lower back pain from sacroiliitis. If necessary, visit a back pain specialist for specialized treatment options to relieve back pain symptoms due to Crohn's disease.