Your child was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JRA), now what?
Here are some helpful tips for parents navigating this journey.
Early treatment plan.
Working with your pediatric rheumatologist to form a game plan early on with medication, physical therapy and other alternative approaches can yield to the most successful outcome. Remission and getting the disease in a manageable state is the goal. Do not wait or be afraid to change doctors, if you feel the patient-doctor relationship isn’t suiting your child’s needs.
See an eye doctor.
Some children with JIA/JRA get diagnosed can have complications with their eyes. An ophthalmologist can evaluate and treat a condition known as, uveitis- an inflammation of the eye which can lead to problems with vision later on if not treated.
Encourage your child to keep moving.
If they are very young you will need to make sure you are doing things at home that keep them moving. Playing games, proper range of motion exercises will help stiffness in the joints and loosen up sore muscles. Ultimately, the main reason why movement is key is to keep the joints from getting deformed.
Camps for kids with juvenile arthritis.
Kids can enjoy spending time with others their age and engaging in various activities. This can benefit parents who can meet other adults going through the same thing. The foundation Kid’s Get Arthritis, Too website is a great resource to find ways to get involved and connect with other families.
- Warm baths
- Swimming in a warm water or regular pool helps not only the bones but muscles and tendons, which leads to good range of motion and flexibility.
- Using a soothing paraffin wax for impacted body parts, especially hands, elbows and feet.
- Spending time out in the sun, safely. Medications can make sun exposure tricky. However, a little sun never hurt anybody and warm sand in the summer months at the lake or beach can feel extra soothing on a child’s painful joints.
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