My arthritis has been in a constant flare for almost two years now, yet my Crohn's is still in remission (just had small bowel series and colonoscopy to be sure and have capsule endoscopy scheduled tomorrow). So I've also heard that a flare in the joints is usually a precurser to a gut flare, but that hasn't been the case for me. Definitely see a rheumatologist. My arthritis has continuously progressed and we have exhausted all options but one. I was told that if it continues to progress the way it has been, I will end up on disability (and I'm 29).
So many of the arthritis meds can hurt your stomach (I had to stop several of them because of this), so it's good to keep your rheumy and GI in the loop as to what the other one is treating you with. The one med that worked (mtx) elevated my liver enzymes, so I had to stop taking it. Humira and Cimzia help some, but not enough. I've been on prednisone for two years straight in January. I've had to stop working out all together, cut back my hours at work, there are weeks that I use a cane to walk...and not much hope that it will get any better for me. So, it's definitely better to get it under control before it progresses. Stuff like Voltaren gel may help for wrists, ankles, knees, etc., especially when you're stuck at a computer for hours. It used to help me quite a bit, but not so much anymore.