Crohn's and Colitis Support
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What pain relief are you on for crohns/flares?

Hi i have crohns, i got diagnosed in 2012 after 5 years of hell! I have abdo pain all the time and have flares quite often.. My gastroentrologist put me on azathioprine to try and control the flares but was hospitalised with side effects so had too come off .. I have a gastro appointment on the 24th nov and am hoping to try the other immuno supressant we talked about if azathioprine was unsuccesful which it was. Anyway i feel as if im waffling on so im going too get straight to the point now but what pain meds do you take .. I have just been prescribed tramadol by my GP.. 50mg x2 4times a day (im not taking the max dose i take 1 tablet in the morning and 2 at bed time as my abdo pain is worse on lieing down?) i have also been on 8x 30/500 co-codamol a day for over a year now (i do take max dose of this and it helps to a degree though not as much as ot used too and it also helps with diarrea) but i i have read some horror stories about paracetemol and liver problems? And addiction (i do not know of im addicted as havent tried to come off them but i suspect i have become dependant) i suffer from anxiety and reading these stories has made me question whethet im over dosing on paracetemol on a daily basis or damaging my liver ... I know it says 8x in 24 hrs (no more than)on the box and im sure im not over dosing (as i said my anxiety is making me question myself and worrying my self about my liver after what ive read) i take my tabs at the same time everyday 2x at11 in morning 2xat 5pm 2xat 9pm and 2x at 1.30am (go to bed at 1.30 funny time i know but can never sleep before then) as i said i take at them times every day thats not taking more than 8in 24 hours is it? As in i am taking it safely arent i? Abd is any other crohns sufferer on long term co-codamol pain relief? I hope this post makes sence.. Im going too make a docs app on monday about co-codamols as i didnt know paracetemol was so dangerous long term & hadnt even thought about addiction tbh as dont just take them to take them if makes sence anyway i hope this post makes sence and someone can tell me what pain relief they use for crohns .. Also tapering pred for crohns.

4 Replies

Hello there, my son has UC and PSC and did have a lot of pain when he was first diagnosed, he was taking paracetamol and codeine which did help but what he has found has helped most is exercise, because he needed the loo often at first he would just use a Wii In the house but now his bowels are better controlled he cycles every day, not going too far but enough to get a bit out of breath, he also goes to the gym and uses the rowing machine and weights, this has helped him a lot regarding the pain he was in and now he just takes a very occasional paracetamol. It wasn't an instant success but nothing seems to be with IBD! Good luck I hope things improve for you.


Hi what is your pain like?


Hi, im sorry to hear your having such a rough time. I think any IBD sufferer will tell you that getting on top of pain is impossible. Pain killers can help make it better but never get on top of it.

You mentioned azathioprine but no other medications to actually 'control' the IBD. pain is caused by the damage that the IBD is doing to the bowel, ie inflammation and ulceration. Taking just pain killers is masking the problem not addressing it. Have you tried any of the 'salazines' - sulfasalazine, asacol or pentasa? these are often used as 1st line with an immunosuppressant brought in to help if 1st line meduications are not as effective as should be. mercaptopurine -6mp, is a metobolite of azathiprine and can be used instead. I couldn't take azathioprine as kept becoming neutrapaenic, and really bad nausea, however I could take mercaptopurine, and was on it for years.

the next step in medication is the biologics, these are extremely expensive, and long term side effects are still relatively unknown. these are used when all other medication in controlling IBD have been exhausted. unfortunately these medications come either by infusion (every 8 weeks) and are done as day case in hospital (after 10 infusions time infusion only takes approx 1 hr) or self injection approx every couple of weeks. i am on the humira injection, although I still experience dull pain, My Crohns is pretty well controlled. I am not a fan of pred - I cant actually take steroids (after yrs of suffering side effects, Dr finally agreed!), i think it is over used as a quick fix solution and just masks the more important issues that need to be resolved.

You may find Tramadol MR is better, it is a slow release version so works over 12 hours instead of around 4. No painkiller is addictive as long as it is needed as it is used by the body to target the pain. addiction occurs when the body uses a substance as a means of feeling good - hope that makes sense!. Paracetamol is safe as long as doses are not exceeded and time before dose is not less than 4 hours. I take codeine , when needed, for diarrhoea which works but has no pain relieving qualities. my last major flare up I was on morphine, which again didnt work, although it took the edge off slightly. It did however make me very sick. Dihydrocodeine and tramadol for me is the same.

A tip for when in bed - lie on side and place a pillow between knees and also slightly under stomach. I find this helps as stops abdo 'hanging' or being pressed when knees together.

I apologise for the essay lol, I hope this helps. I have been a Chronie for over 20 years. I am also a nurse, and worked in gastroenterology for a couple of years. please feel free to ask me any questions you may have regarding IBD, medications etc. There is an option to send privately (go to help top of page) if there are questions which you dont wish to be posted.

Regards Cath x


Hi , sorry to hear your in so much pain , I was diagnosed with Crohns 35 years ago so I understand how you feel , recently I had a flareup and my GP perscribed Buscapan 10mg tablets these did take the edge off the pain . I cannot take co-codamol as it can cause constipation and this is terrible for me . Like overworked1 I find exercise helps I cycle about 5 miles a day using a circular route . hope this helps


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