Juvenile Arthritis Treatment Perth

Juvenile Arthritis Treatment Perth

Juvenile Arthritis Perth is the umbrella term given to a cluster of auto-inflammatory, autoimmune and rheumatic diseases that develop in children 16 years and younger.  This includes juvenile idiopathic arthritis, juvenile myositis, juvenile lupus, juvenile scleroderma, vasculitis, and fibromyalgia.  Is this blog we will discusses the management of the most common type,  Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, particularly in adolescents and young adults.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, or JIA for short, is an autoimmune or auto-inflammatory disease affecting the peripheral and/or spinal joints characterised by an onset before the age of 16-years.  The word “idiopathic” is a medical term inferring unknown onset – researchers are currently unsure exactly what causes JIA, but some studies have linked exposure to certain bacteria, viruses or other external factors to the onset of JIA.  There is also evidence to suggest genetic factors have a significant influence.

Globally,  JIA affects around 3-million children and young adults. The worldwide prevalence is estimated to be between 0.00385% and 0.4%.  Girls have been consistently found to be at a higher risk than boys overall, with this differing depending on the sub-type of JIA diagnosed.

Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis 

  • Joint pain / stiffness, sometimes worse after waking up or staying in one position too long
  • Red, swollen, warm or tender joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes to vision (blurry vision, or dry gritty eyes)
  • Rash
  • High fever

According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR),  JIA may be suspected in a child under the age of 16-years that has had inflammation in one or more joints lasting at least 6-weeks.  Most importantly all other explanations for this onset of inflammation must be ruled out before a diagnosis, such as joint infection or ligament/soft tissue injury

Can Physio Help with Juvenile Arthritis?

There is good research that has shown exercise therapy and most notably supervised exercise therapy, is an excellent way to assist in the management of JIA.  Exercises that improve cardiovascular endurance, prevent weight gain, and build muscular strength have shown to be not only beneficial for improving function and quality of life, but also aid in the reduction of JIA-related pain.  Research literature on the role of exercise therapy in JIA does outline that a cookie-cutter approach does not provide the same benefit as a tailored exercise program.  This suggests it is important to consult with a East Perth Trained Physiotherapist in exercise prescription for those living with JIA when using exercise therapy to manage symptoms of JIA.  In addition to exercise prescription, hands-on manual therapy is often utilised to help with managing the symptoms of JIA. This may include massage, stretching, and soft tissue therapy to tight muscles, or joint mobilisation / manipulation.

How to Diagnose Juvenile Arthritis

If JIA is suspected often a referral to a rheumatologist is warranted.  Rheumatologists are medical doctors that specialise in treating arthritic conditions.  Some rheumatologists only treat children (paediatric rheumatologists), some treat only adults, and some both.  A rheumatologist may perform a physical examination, take a medical history, and run blood tests to check for certain blood markers that may point to a diagnosis of JIA. Imaging such as MRI, x-ray or CT scan may also be requested by a rheumatologist to assist with the diagnosis.  Once a diagnosis is made, the rheumatologist may prescribe medications to help limit disease activity/progression, relieve symptoms, and provide pain relief.  They may recommend other interventions such as physiotherapy to help with management of JIA.

How can Trained Physio & Fitness help?

Trained Physio & Fitness is equipped with a 250sqm rehabilitation facility housing an abundance of gym equipment necessary to exercise rehabilitation.  Our East Perth Physio’s are also qualified and experienced in the prescription of strength training / exercise, even for those living with chronic conditions such as JIA.  BOOK ONLINE today!

Hayden Quinn
BSc. Physiotherapy (Curtin)
Level 1 ASCA Strength & Conditioning Coach