Currently, the cause of
juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is not well
understood, and there is no way to prevent it. The self-care methods listed
below may help prevent complications and make managing the illness
Children who have
JIA need a careful balance of activity and rest. Encourage your child not to
overdo activity when he or she is feeling well. Too much activity will
generally make soreness worse. Limit your child's participation in activities
that are stressful to joints (such as running or contact sports) during flares
of arthritis. But try not to discourage activity so that the child begins to
feel very different from his or her playmates or friends.
When the burly, 45-year-old construction worker and heavy equipment operator first came to see rheumatologist Eric Matteson, MD, at the Mayo Clinic in the summer of 2006, he didn't look like the strong, vigorous man he'd once been. He had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for about three months. It had gotten so bad that he was no longer able to work, and he needed rheumatoid arthritis medication badly.
Matteson noted the man's rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was particularly aggressive, with more...
that your child takes his or her medicine as prescribed. Use joint supports or
splints if your doctor recommends them. Apply heat to stiff and painful joints
for 20 minutes, repeating as needed. You can use hot water bottles, heating
pads on a low-to-medium setting, or hot packs, either towels dipped in warm
water or wet towels microwaved for 15 to 30 seconds. Do not leave a small child
unattended with a heating pad. Always make sure heating pads, hot water
bottles, and hot packs are not too hot for your child's skin.
Preventing morning stiffness
Many children who have
JIA have less stiffness in the morning if their joints are kept warm during the
night. Footed pajamas or thermal underwear, or a sleeping bag, heated water
bed, or electric blanket may help keep joints warm.
child to take a warm bath or shower first thing in the morning to help ease
stiffness and then to stretch gently afterward.
medicines as early as possible, with a snack or breakfast to prevent upsetting
an empty stomach.