• pain, swelling and stiffness in one or more joints• skin over the affected joints may be warm or red• mental and physical tiredness, or fatigue.
Less common symptoms include:• fever• rash• feeling generally unwell• eye inflammation
Though the cause remains unknown, JA occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own cells and tissues. Both heredity and environment seem to play a role.
Some forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are more common in girls
Take your child to the doctor if he or she has joint pain, swelling or stiffness for more than a week — especially if he or she also has a fever.
The main treatments for arthritis include:• medications to control the inflammation (including tablets, injections, infusions, eye drops)• exercises to keep the joints moving well and the muscles strong• splints to support the joints• joint injections to reduce inflammation in particular joints• pain management to reduce pain and to help your child cope with pain.
Physical therapy is an important part of the treatment of JA. It is important to motivate and encourage the child to remain active. Allow rest and symptom reducing therapies during periods of flare-ups. Regular activity and general exercise programs help to maintain range of motion in affective joints, build and maintain strength, maintain function and can even help with symptom reduction.
Your child will be taught the following:• Strengthening exercises • Range of motion exercises• Stretching exercises • Education on joint protection• Education on pain reducing techniques• Muscle relaxation techniques• Splints or orthotics to help maintain normal bone and joint growth/prevent deformities during growth
Some modalities that can be used to help reduce pain are:• Ultrasound• Paraffin wax dips (hands and feet primarily)• Moist compress (hot pack)• Hydrotherapy (warm)• Cold packs