Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Other Treatment
occupational therapy are vital to the successful
juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Maintaining good
joint function and range of motion and being able to do daily tasks help a
child who has JIA develop normally.
Other Treatment Choices
Physical and occupational therapy
The purpose of
physical therapy is to decrease pain and increase strength and range of motion,
to allow your child to resume or continue normal activities. Occupational
therapy works to help a child live as independently as possible.
- Physical conditioning may include aerobic
exercise, range-of-motion exercises, and strength and stretching
- Stretching and strengthening exercises can help a child maintain strength and a normal
range of motion.
- Splinting at night will help keep the
wrist, hand, knee, and/or ankle joints straight, which may prevent pain,
morning stiffness, and contractures. Working splints can help support a joint
and relieve pain when writing or doing other hand tasks.
- Serial casting of the knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, and/or elbows is a
temporary straightening and casting of the affected joint. The cast is then
removed, the child goes through some physical therapy, and a new cast is
applied with the joint stretched a bit more.
- Shoe lifts or inserts help to equalize leg lengths for children in whom one
leg grows at a different rate than the other.
Healthy eating means eating a variety
of foods so that your child gets the nutrients he or she needs for growth and
development. Good nutrition will also help fight the effects of JIA. Important
nutrients include protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Your
child can eat all types of food as long as his or her weekly intake is balanced
- As part of a healthy diet for a child with
JIA, your child's doctor may recommend
vitamin D and calcium. These nutrients can help
control bone loss that is often linked with inactivity and with corticosteroid
Some nutrients are thought to help reduce inflammation,
so they may help decrease some symptoms of JIA.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help
reduce inflammation in the body. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes,
berries, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.
- Omega-3 fatty
acids in fish oil have been shown to mildly reduce inflammation in adults with
rheumatoid arthritis and may have the same effect in children who have JIA. The
best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish and flaxseed
- Massage is used to promote relaxation,
relieve pain, and restore normal joint movement.
- Guided imagery may be used to promote relaxation and manage
- Acupuncture is mildly effective in relieving pain in
adults who have rheumatoid arthritis and may help relieve pain in children who