Crohn’s disease is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in your digestive tract. It can affect any part of your digestive tract, which runs from your mouth to your anus. But it usually affects your small intestine and the beginning of your large intestine. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- frequent cramps.
- ongoing abdominal pain.
- frequent diarrhea.
- bloody stools.
- unintentional weight loss.
- Stress. The connection is poorly understood, but stress is thought to lead to flares in some people living with Crohn’s, says R.
- Seasonal changes
- Not taking your medication.
- lab tests.
- intestinal endoscopy.
- upper gastrointestinal (GI) series.
- computed tomography (CT) scan.
- Appetite loss.
- Abdominal pain.
- Joint pain.
- Pain and redness in eyes.
- Red bumps on the skin.
- Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease.
- Crohn’s (Granulomatous) Colitis.
- Crohn’s Phenotypes
- Abdominal pain and cramping.
- Blood in your stool.
- Mouth sores.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss.
- Pain or drainage near or around the anus due to inflammation from a tunnel into the skin (fistula)
- Alcohol (mixed drinks, beer, wine)
- Butter, mayonnaise, margarine, oils.
- Carbonated beverages.
- Coffee, tea, chocolate.
- Dairy products (if lactose intolerant)
- Fatty foods (fried foods)
- Foods high in fiber.
- Fruits: bananas, raspberries, applesauce, blended fruit.
- Vegetables: squashes, fork-tender cooked carrots, green beans.
- Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids: fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.), walnut butter, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, flaxseed meal.
- Family history of the disease. …
- Smoking. …
- Certain medicines, such as antibiotics, birth-control pills, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. …
- A high-fat diet.
Massage for Crohn’s Disease
Little research has been conducted about massage therapy as an intervention for patients with Crohn’s disease. However, general trends suggest that people with chronic pain conditions are often enthusiastic users of CAM interventions, and massage is typically the most popular choice. It is interesting to point out that most inflammatory bowel disease patients do not use CAM interventions specifically for disease management, but rather for stress or other problems they feel contribute to their symptoms. This is supported by the experiences of several massage therapists.
Most LMTs reported that their clients usually did not come during a flare, and when they did, only the gentlest, nonabdominal work was welcomed. At other times, depending on the client’s needs, a massage could be conducted without any special accommodations. Some clients were able to manage their disease proactively with a careful diet, exercise, and yoga; others used prednisone and repeated surgeries. A common theme is that clients feel massage therapy helps them with the stress associated with having Crohn’s, and that managing the stress decreased the likelihood of having another flare.
Positioning was also variable: some clients were able to receive a bodywork session that required no adaptation, but others could only receive work from a side-lying position.
One therapist shared that her client had been turned away by other practitioners because of her condition. This brings up a subtle but important aspect of living with a chronic disease: its influence on self-esteem is hard to estimate. Anxiety, depression, and a sense of loss of the ability to cope with even minor life stressors may seriously impact a person’s quality of life. Whatever the status of your next client with Crohn’s disease (flare or remission, under control with minimal treatment or gearing up for surgery), feel confident to call on your patience, your ability to listen with all your senses, your compassion, and your unique skills to offer the very best of what massage therapy can give for this population of clients who live with such great challenges.
If you’re in the middle of a flare, it may help to eat a liquid diet for a bit to give your digestive system a chance to reset. This can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. You’ll drink special fluids to make sure you get all the nutrients you need while the inflammation in your gut heals.
There are precautions you should be aware of. If you are suffering from severe pain in the abdominal area, it’s important that you let your massage therapist know. Some massage techniques target the abdominal area and it can leave you in even more pain.
It isn’t always easy to tell if your Crohn’s disease has gone into remission. It’s very important that you make regular visits to your doctor. If blood tests show normal levels of inflammatory symptoms, there is a chance your disease is now in remission. Another way to tell is if the lesions in your bowel or colon have begun to heal.
Crohn’s disease may not have a cure, but you can ensure a healthy and happy life is possible even with the disease.
A few massage techniques directly address the abdomen, and these should be avoided. Only light touch should be applied to this area, so as not to aggravate the condition. Again, make sure to inform the massage therapist before your session so necessary precautions can be taken.
Check with your doctor about receiving treatment during flare-ups.
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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.