Juvenile Arthritis and Alternative Treatment

By Brad Morgan

Part of aging is realizing our bodies do not work like they used to.

Doing yard work can make you sore for days; exercising makes you aware of joint and muscles that you did not know you had. Doing routine chores is a bit more difficult, and it takes our bodies longer to recover. While this is normal for aging bodies, many children also feel this frustrating physical pain or discomfort.

Juvenile arthritis is a reality that starts out as a minor discomfort, but can develop into a disabling condition.

Juvenile arthritis inflames joints and impacts their motion. Since this autoimmune disease attacks the joints at such a critical developmental stage, growth may be slightly to severely impacted.

Joint stiffness that is apparent upon waking up in the morning is a very common sign of this disease.

If a child experiences this and other symptoms of juvenile arthritis that do not abate after six weeks, and there is no other medical cause for the pain or discomfort, then juvenile arthritis is often diagnosed. This disease is not diagnosed by a single test but must be made when other conditions have been ruled out.

A specialist in juvenile arthritis, or a pediatric rheumatologist, is often called upon to make the final diagnosis.

It is vital to a child for their parents and care givers to understand their disease in order to have realistic physical expectations of them. This joint pain and inflammation is very real and can be very painful.

The severity and scope of juvenile arthritis differs depending on the type of arthritis. Children with polyarticular juvenile arthritis suffer from inflamation in five or more joints. Those with pauciarticular juvenile arthritis are affected in four joints or fewer, and children with systemic onset juvenile arthritis experience joint pain or inflammation in at one or more joints as well as internal organs.

Treatment of juvenile arthritis is aimed at reliving the pain, not curing the disease. The goal is to control the inflammation and try to prevent joint damage. Treatment also seeks to expand and retain the range of motion for joints and their functionality.

Exercising to keep the joints from tensing and becoming inflamed will be an element of a child's therapy.

Exercise can be used in conjunction with relaxation techniques characteristic of yoga and meditation to help ease the stress within the joints. Splints can also be used during hours of sleep to prevent morning stiffness.

Depending upon the severity of the arthritis, more specialists may be involved with a child's care.

Pediatric rheumatologists and primary care physicians are important members of the health team. Any and all signs of inflammation should be checked because juvenile arthritis can affect bodily functions.

Psychologists are commonly employed, as the child's inability to perform age specific tasks without assistance may trigger depression.

It is vital to understand the child's feelings and maximize their potential by highlighting their abilities rather than their limitations.

Stress is detrimental to health and serves no purpose in the treatment of juvenile arthritis. Therefore be sure to reassure the child in a way the causes them the least amount of stress. - 30540

About the Author:

Sign Up for our Free Newsletter

Enter email address here