Additional Arthritis Therapy and Treatments
Aside from nutrition, medication, supplements, and stretching and strengthening exercises, there are other modes and methods of treatment available to those suffering the symptoms of juvenile arthritis.
Various types of therapy may help to relieve those symptoms, making a life with arthritis an easier one to live.
The list below is in no way meant to be exhaustive, rather just a sampling of what you may consider adding into you or your child’s treatment plan. As always, before venturing into the realm of additional therapy treatments, you should first consult with your rheumatologist.
Ice helps to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation by constricting blood vessels.
A good rule of thumb when applying ice is to always have a protective layer between the skin and the ice. Generally ice works best twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off for several rounds.
Heat relaxes and heals tissues and muscles by increasing blood circulation. Because of this, it can also increase swelling, so be sure not to heat a swollen area (unless otherwise directed by your rheumatologist).
The use of heat also helps to relax muscles, tendons, and ligaments before exercising and helps to loosen stiff joints. You can apply heat using a warm compress, a heat pad, or by sitting in a warm bath.
Hydrotherapy is exercise that takes place in water, making it gentle on the body. Because the symptoms of arthritis sometimes make it difficult to exercise (stiffness, swelling, pain, etc), hydrotherapy is a great way to get the body moving without added discomfort or impact on the joints.
Reiki is an ancient Japanese tradition that helps to relieve stress, pain, and other imbalances in the body. Reiki channels energy by means of touch to activate the natural healing processes of the body, making this a great non-invasive and gentle mode of treatment.
Acupuncture is a method from Chinese medicine that generates the healing flow of our body’s own natural energy. Much like Reiki, acupuncture activates our own body’s intelligence, but does so through the insertion of tiny needles into various pressure points on the body.
Massage works to heal the body through pressure applied to soft tissues. There are many different types of massages, making it possible to find one suited to you or your child’s own individual needs. Massage relaxes muscles, increases circulation, and eases pain in soft tissues.
Restorative Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest and digest), allowing the body and mind to rest and restore through the use of various asana and pranayama. Asana are positions the body rests in during this form of yoga (with the use of props), while pranayama refers to various methods of breath work that this practice utilizes. Restorative yoga is great for any age, and is very gentle on the body.
Physical Therapy is yet another great way to individualize additional treatment for arthritis symptoms. Seeing a physical therapist about a specific pain or targeted areas of pain can help the body receive the proper exercises and information it needs to resolve those specific issues.
When considering physical therapy, be sure to ask your rheumatologist for any recommendations!