Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Treatment Overview
Pain relief techniques can help you and your child
control pain caused by JIA. Your child's doctor can work with you to set up a
pain management plan, which might include heat treatments, exercise, and
Breathing and relaxation techniques can be an
effective way to reduce pain intensity.
Inflammatory eye disease may develop in children with
JIA. Because this form of eye disease generally has no symptoms and can lead to
a permanent decrease in vision or blindness, part of your child's treatment
plan should be regular checkups with an
ophthalmologist. Most children who develop eye disease
are treated with corticosteroids and prescription eyedrops called
Home treatment to
help your child function as normally as possible should include and address
activities in the home, school, and community.
- Range-of-motion exercises, done twice
daily with the assistance of an adult, will help to maintain joint range and
muscle strength and prevent contractures.
- Balancing rest and activity may mean extra naps or quiet times during the day, mixed with
frequent activity to keep muscles from stiffening and
- Assistive devices can help your child hold onto, open,
close, move, or do things more easily. Doorknob extenders, Velcro fasteners,
and canes are all assistive devices.
- Partnering with school staff to develop creative ways of dealing with JIA-caused limitations
can help your child make the best of his or her abilities.
After your child's initial
juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), he or she will likely require ongoing treatment throughout childhood. Many children
who have JIA will outgrow their disease and lead normal adult lives, while others
will have some disability and will need continued treatment as adults. Physical
exercise and medicines will be the basics of treatment throughout the disease's
Physical therapy is a vital component of the
successful ongoing management of JIA. Help your child understand the importance
of physical therapy exercises and help him or her keep an upbeat attitude about
twice-or-more daily stretching and strengthening sessions. Working closely with
a pediatric physical therapist can be especially helpful.
Occupational therapy is often recommended. An occupational therapist (OT) can help a child learn ways to do self-care activities, play, and participate in school without making their symptoms worse.
child doesn't respond to
NSAID treatment (first-line treatment) after 2 or 3
months, additional medicine (second-line treatment) will be necessary to manage
symptoms and inflammation. Methotrexate has been found to be the most effective
second-line medicine for children with JIA.6 Children
who don't respond well to methotrexate can be offered similar medicines,
sometimes referred to as
disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or a type of DMARD called a biologic.
Inflammatory eye disease can develop as a complication in children with JIA. Regular eye
examinations with an
ophthalmologist need to be included in your child's
treatment plan. Most children who develop eye disease are treated with
corticosteroids and prescription eyedrops called mydriatics. More severe or
continuing eye disease may require other medicines such as
Treatment if the condition gets worse