Treating Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is treated with a combination of medication, physical therapy, and exercise. In specific situations, your child may require surgery or injections into the joint. The goals of treatment are to relieve pain and inflammation, slow down or prevent the destruction of joints, and restore use and function of affected joints in order to promote optimal growth, physical activity, and social and emotional development in your child.
When pain strikes, it's natural for your child to want to sit still. But it's very important to maintain a regular exercise program, especially for those with arthritis. Muscles must be kept strong and healthy so they can help support and protect joints. Regular exercise also helps to maintain range of motion of joints and prevent cycles of pain and depression.
At home and at school, your child should maintain regular exercise and physical fitness programs to his or her tolerance. Safe activities include walking, swimming, and bicycling (especially on indoor stationary bikes). Always be certain your child warms up his or her muscles through stretching before exercising. Making exercise a family activity can increase the level of fun and enthusiasm.
Consult your child's doctor and physical therapist about sports restrictions. Some sports, especially impact sports, can be hazardous to weakened joints and bones. In addition, be certain your child eats a balanced diet that includes plenty of calcium to promote bone health.