How is JSpA Treated?
Treatment of JSpA is individualized according to how severe the disease is, what joints are affected, and whether there are complications. Pediatric rheumatologists are trained in the diagnosis and management of kids with JSpA. However, if one is not available, an adult rheumatologist may be appropriate, particularly when the patient is older.
Although there is no known cure, the good news is that there is much that can be done to help. To that end, it is very important to have a correct diagnosis made as quickly as possible. This is the role of the pediatric rheumatologist, who is a physician with special training in rheumatic diseases (including arthritis) in children. In order to make a diagnosis, he or she will evaluate the history of symptoms, perform a complete physical exam and do laboratory tests, and then decide upon a course of treatment that will sometimes involve bringing in other medical experts. These can include an eye doctor (ophthalmologist), bowel doctor (gastroenterologist), and sometimes a skin doctor (dermatologist).
In general, a four-part approach is used for treatment.
How Will This Affect Day-to-Day Life?
Even in its mild forms, JSpA can affect normal daily routines. It’s important to keep daily life as normal as possible to prevent any undue emotional stress.
It’s important for parents to inform teachers and school of the young person’s condition, and make them aware of any special needs they might have such as seating and the need to periodically get up and stretch.
Prior to meeting with your child’s school care team, download and customize this JSpA medical information guide for your child (Download here). This will help guide your meeting and provide school staff details of your child’s medical condition, and how it affects them at school.
Whenever possible, kids and teens should participate in gym and other physical activities. Remaining active will help youth stay involved with peers and lead a normal life. Before returning to a physical activity, make teachers and coaches aware of any mobility limitations. Low impact sports are more favorable than sports that produce high joint stress. However, it is not always necessary to avoid high impact sports. Consult the pediatric rheumatologist on what are safe activities and sports.