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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Reviewed by

Team Resolve

February 24, 2022

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Did you know that physical therapy can assist children suffering from arthritis? The most common kind of arthritis in children and young people is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), often known as Stills disease. Joint pain and stiffness, as well as the occasional fever, are typical complaints among children. If left untreated, JRA can wreak havoc on fine motor skills and general mobility. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are critical to restore full movement and quality of life, even if medical therapy is the mainstay of treatment.

Table of Contents

What is physical therapy essential?

Movement constraints are physically and psychologically debilitating for children. Children enjoy moving around, participating in group activities with other kids, and staying physically active. A youngster who is enduring pain or dysfunction may feel alone and excluded from group activities with other children.

Physical therapy is an important component of JRA treatment for children. A professional physical therapist can design a treatment plan that can relieve pain and increase joint mobility. Physical therapy can help a youngster in their ‘golden years’ enhance their quality of life.

What does physical therapy focus on?

While pain may limit a child’s ability to participate in activities, it is crucial to encourage participation during periods of remission and to provide rest and symptom-relieving therapies during flare-ups. Regular activity and general exercise programmes aid in the maintenance of range of motion in affected joints, the development and maintenance of strength, the maintenance of function, and even the reduction of symptoms.

The following are some of the aspects that are addressed during a physical therapy session:

  • Strengthening of muscle tone
  • Stretching for range of motion
  • Joint protection education
  • Exercise routine at home
  • Pain-relieving treatments
  • Techniques for muscle relaxing

What does physical therapy involve?

To help children recover from the consequences of joint discomfort, a physical therapist employs a range of techniques:

  • Strengthening exercises: This disease severely affects the strength of the muscles and compromises the quality of life. Strengthening exercised help restore the agility and builds up power in your tissues. For example- Squeezing a foam ball to strengthen the joints of the hand, making figure 8s in the air with wrist rotations etc.
  • Aerobic Exercises: These exercises require active participation and can include brisk walks around the neighbourhood, cycling, swimming etc. Children can benefit from aquatic treatment (in a pool), passive exercises, and a variety of activities to develop muscle tone in a group setting.
  • Contrast Method: The blood flow to the afflicted joints fluctuates as a result of alternating hot and cold therapy. Pain and inflammation can be reduced by increasing and reducing blood supply. Ultrasound therapy can be used in conjunction with other treatments to provide further relief.
  • Massages: Manual joint methods and soft tissue massage can be used by physical therapists to assist ease discomfort. This helps in stimulating the tissues and increasing blood flow.
  • Physical Aid recruitment: Various prosthesis and orthosis are available which aid in movement. If requirement is felt, use should be taught and encouraged to ensure the acceptance of these aids by the child. This entails providing the patient with aids to rectify deformities, increase joint mobility, and improve mobility.

Disclaimer

The above-mentioned remedies and medicines; are over the counter medicines (most of them) and are effective in most cases. It is advisable to contact the doctor before taking any medications.

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