Joint Injury and Disease Information, Treatment and Pain Relief


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Treating and Managing Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

The goals of medical treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis are to reduce your child's joint pain and to prevent disability.

Can it be cured or prevented?

As the cause and cure of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are both unknown, there is no real way to prevent juvenile idiopathic arthritis from occurring.

Relieve Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis pain with ultrasonic massage.

The only preventative measures that can be taken are to prevent the joint pain resulting from juvenile idiopathic arthritis. For example, making sure your child has a well balanced sense of exercise and rest, limiting participation in high impact or contact sports, and using hot and cold packs on the affected joints. Ultrasound therapy can also help, but be sure to talk to your doctor or pediatrician first.

What about diet?

A balanced diet is essential for a child’s development. 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 juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Important nutrients include protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Your child can eat all types of food as long as the weekly intake is balanced and varied.

Your doctor or pediatrician may recommend emphasis on Vitamin D and calcium in your child’s diet. These can help to control bone loss associated with steroid injection treatment or inactivity.

Both Vitamin C and Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to help reduce inflammation.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges, limes, grapefruit), cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed oil, and coldwater fish such as sardines, anchovies, salmon, mackerel, and herring.

Adopting a "good-health attitude" and healthy habits, such as eating a nutritious diet (low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt and high in fibre and complex carbohydrates - whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables), maintaining a healthy weight, and getting enough sleep, will make your child feel better and allow your child to stay active.

Can it be treated?

The purpose of treating a patient for juvenile idiopathic arthritis is to relieve joint pain and inflammation, and can be treated with:

  • Plenty of rest When your child is experiencing a flare-up, it is important to rest often to avoid straining and inflaming the already sensitive joint.
  • Regular exercise. The pain and even the fear of pain may make your child less willing to exercise. This is dangerous. Lack of exercise can lead to muscle atrophy. Swimming or biking with other children is advisable, as this can build self-esteem and keeps your child’s joints and muscles strong. Do prevent your child from participating in any exercise that puts unnecessary strain or stress on the joints.
  • Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are essential components of the treatment program for all children with JA to minimize long-term damage to joints and muscles and to preserve function. A therapist can help set up an exercise program for your child, either for the child to do alone or with your help. Exercises should be done every day and periodically reviewed by the physiotherapist to ensure the exercises are being done correctly and decide whether exercises should be added, dropped, or changed.
  • Cold wrap therapy. Apply a cold compression wrap. Cold compression wraps interrupt pain signals and reduce inflammation. Arthritis immobilizes the joints by inducing swelling in the surrounding tissue.
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    The deep cold provided by cold compression wraps/braces slows this process. Cold wraps numb the nerves to reduce the pain. In the early moments or hours of your child's flare-up, controlling inflammation is extremely important, especially because inflammation also strains the surrounding tissue causing more pain and damage.

  • If you don't have a cold compression wrap for managing your child's arthritis pain, an important and safe treatment method is being ignored. Our MendMeShop store contains a wide selection of cold compression wraps.

    Combine heat therapy. To increase blood flow and circulation, try combining heat therapy with cold compression. We offer hot packs/wraps for our wraps as well.

  • Ultrasound Therapy. Ultrasound therapy is a great option to decrease inflammation, pain, tension and soft tissue damage experienced with gout.
    be sure to confirm the your childs doctor about using ultrasound.
    You can administer therapy to your child using a portable, home ultrasound device or see a physiotherapist. The treatment is easy, painless, safe, and generally requires between 5 - 10 minutes. It is based on a form of deep tissue therapy, which is generated through high frequency sound waves (that we can not hear). These waves send vibrations deep into the body and raise the temperature of your soft tissue. The waves are delivered through a hand held transducer and medicinal conductive gel that are used together in a slow, circular motion on the skin over the affected area. Your child may experience a slight tingling or warm sensation during the process as a result of the gel; this enhances the therapeutic effects of ultrasound (phonophoresis). Your child deserve specialized, professional care. Get your own ultrasound kit from MendMeShop.
  • Note: Ultrasound therapy can help, but talk to your doctor or pediatrician first. Generally, ultrasound therapy is not recommended for children under the age of 16.

  • Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy. When a joint is inflamed, it needs the blood flow to promote recovery. Since your child can't work the swollen joint without excruciating pain, blood flow needs to be stimulated another way. A very effective way of doing this is with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy. The Inferno Wraps energy penetrates the body. As it is absorbed it stimulates blood flow and warms the inner tissue. It is perfectly safe, natural, and very effective.
  • Massage and acupuncture.
    Pain relief can be obtained through massage and acupuncture, though painful joints should not be massaged and you should provide the details of your child’s condition to the therapist.
  • Splints and casts. Splints can help to maintain joint alignment, straighten and stretch the joint, and reduce inflammation. Splints can hold your child’s joints in a good position at night and when at rest. A splint can help decrease pain, swelling and stiffness. Working splints (worn during the day) can help support a joint and relieve pain when writing or doing other hand tasks. Serial casting is a temporary straightening and casting of the affected joint (for about 2 days). The cast is then removed, the child goes through some physiotherapy, and a new cast is applied with the joint stretched a bit more.
  • Canes, braces, shoe inserts. Using these mobility aids can reduce the strain and stress on painful joints. Shoe inserts help to equalize leg lengths.
  • Assistive devices. Higher toilet seats and extensions on doorknobs, keys, cutlery, pencils, brushes, combs, and toothbrushes. Putting large loops of cord or string on zippers will help as well. These methods can enable your child to perform everyday tasks without putting very much strain on sore joints.
  • NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). NSAIDs such as ASA (Aspirin), ibuprofen, or naproxen. NSAIDs are used to control pain and may help reduce inflammation. They do not control the disease or stop it from getting worse.
  • DMARDs (Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs). DMARDS can slow or sometimes prevent joint destruction. Generally, they are recommended early in the course of the disease.
  • Cortisone therapy. A corticosteroid injection can be an effective way to reduce inflammation, resulting in pain relief. However, its negative long term effects are thought to outweigh the beneficial effects.
  • Surgery. Joint surgery or replacement can relieve disabling pain and restore enough motion to allow you to complete daily activities, but it will seldom restore the joint to normal.

How can our family cope with this disease?

The degree to which juvenile arthritis affects your child’s daily activities depends in part on how well you and your child cope with the disease. Take good physical care of yourself so that you can help your child through the more difficult periods of illness.

Talk to your health professional about coping strategies. In time you'll find what strategies work best for your whole family. In the meantime, try to:

Keep a positive attitude. With your doctor, make a plan for managing your child’s arthritis. This will help you and your child feel in charge of your disease. Studies show that people who take control of their treatment and actively manage their arthritis experience less pain and make fewer visits to the doctor.

help your child with JIA to relax and be indepent.

Encourage independence. It is important for parents to think in terms of what their child can do and encourage the child to discover his or her own limits from the start. For example, it is important to let your child get dressed and undressed without help, even if this seems to take too long.

Balance rest and activity. Your child may need extra naps or quiet times during the day, mixed with frequent activity to keep muscles from stiffening and weakening. It is important for children and families to take responsibility for the exercise program and make it a part of daily life. It is often helpful to have family members join in an exercise program. As the general condition improves, active exercises gradually strengthen muscles. Strong muscles stabilize and protect the joints. Encourage your child to participate as much as possible, and let your child set his or her own limits.

Relax. Breathing and relaxation techniques relieve chronic pain. These techniques include distraction, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditative breathing exercises.

Involve the whole family. Fear of the future can affect how even the strongest family works together. It is very helpful if all family members can become involved in the child's program so that they can provide each other with the support needed to deal with, and overcome, a chronic illness. Brothers and sisters may have difficulty understanding why there is so little time left for them. Make sure their interests are not overlooked, and encourage them to get involved. It may be appropriate, for example, to have the other children participate in the exercise program with the child with arthritis.

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Connect with others. Consider becoming involved with a support group of families who live with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Other people with the disease can offer unique support during these times.

Partner with school staff. Meet with your child's teachers and help them learn about Juvenile Arthritis. Work with them to develop creative ways of dealing with disease-caused limitations that can help your child make the best of his or her abilities.

Overall, juvenile idiopathic arthritis has a good long-term outlook. The outlook is even better when you and your child actively manage your child's health. With greater understanding of the disease, you and your child will have less fear, make better decisions, and have better results. A child who has overcome his or her illness grows up to be a unique and special person.

Do you have more questions?

If you have any questions regarding our therapeutic products and your treatment options, please contact a MendMeShop Advisor for assistance. You can be assured all your questions will be answered in a thorough and courteous manner by our trained staff.

Within Continental US and Canada call toll 1-866-237-9608

International Callers 705-445-3505

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We strive to answer all emails within 24 hours. Often you will receive your response sooner.

Our Office Hours

Monday, Tuesday 9:00am to 8:00pm (Eastern Standard Time)
Wednesday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm (Eastern Standard Time)


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