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There is no cure for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, but there are therapies that help address symptoms of the disease. This article lists 15 different home remedies for managing symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops in children and adolescents. The primary symptoms associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis are joint swelling and pain. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for this disease, though there are several symptomatic treatments that can help prevent the progression of the disease, ease symptoms and maintain range of motion for joints.

Some people choose to add home remedies to their standard treatment regimen. This can include a variety of things including lifestyle modifications, healing practices and products that are not part of standard care.

These are the various different types of lifestyle and home remedies that can be used alongside conventional medicine for treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

1. Exercise

This is a major lifestyle change that has been proven through various studies to help improve muscle strength, joint flexibility and ease symptoms. Some examples of exercise that are recommended for patients with arthritis include swimming, stationary bike, walking and hydrotherapy (which refers to conducting exercise in a warm water pool with a physiotherapist).

2. Application of cold or heat

One of the ways through which you can ease your child’s pain or stiffness in the morning is by applying a cold or hot pack. Alternatively, taking a hot bath or shower also helps loosen the joints. While children usually prefer application of heat, some prefer application of cold to the affected area.

3. Dietary supplements

While there is no strong evidence for the use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, some people choose to take supplements to treat specific symptoms. For example, children with arthritis are prone to developing osteoporosis (weak bones) due to arthritis. Hence, patients take calcium supplements to avoid developing osteoporosis later in life. Other types of supplements include vitamins, herbs, amino acids, and minerals.

4. Maintaining a healthy weight

It is important to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle for treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis as extra weight on joints can worsen the condition. Therefore, it is important to eat healthy to maintain an appropriate weight so your joints don’t become further damaged.

5. Omega-3-foods

Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and different types of seeds, have been shown to help reduce inflammatory responses of the body. They also have a range of other beneficial effects. Therefore, incorporating more omega-3-foods can be beneficial for patients with arthritis.

6. High sulfur foods

Foods that contain high concentration of sulfur are anti-inflammatory and help fix damaged tissue. Sulfur contains a form of methylsulfonylmethane, which is a compound that has been shown to help lower pain and impairment of function. Example of foods that are high in sulfur include onions, cabbage, and garlic.

7. Bone broth

Bone broth can be beneficial for patients with a range of bone diseases. This is because bone broth contains collagen, which is an important part of the architecture of bones. Bone broth contains two amino acids (proline and glycine) which help reconstruct connective tissue, and have several other benefits. Furthermore, bone broth also contains antioxidants which are known to help lower rates of inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.

8. Foods that are high in antioxidants

As mentioned above, antioxidants are very beneficial when it comes to controlling and lowering levels of inflammation. Hence, foods that are high in antioxidants, such as fruits (such as berries, papaya, etc.) and vegetables should be a staple in the diet of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Adding fruits and vegetables provides several other benefits as well and is good for your overall health.

9. Foods with high fiber

Foods that contain high levels of fiber include vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. Fiber is great at controlling the appetite and is beneficial for your overall digestive system. Adding more fiber to your diet can help curb excess eating and help maintain a healthy weight, which is beneficial for arthritis in the long run.  

10. Homeopathic medicine

This is a type of medicine that uses small doses of substances that are found in plants, animals and minerals for treatment. If used, homeopathic remedies should be used alongside conventional therapies as studies have not shown significant benefits from homeopathic treatment. It may have a placebo effect.

11. Naturopathic medicine

Similar to homeopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine aims to treat disease through non-medical and non-conventional products. Again, it is important to use it alongside western medicine as naturopathic medicine has not been proven as an effective treatment method.

12. Traditional Chinese medicine

Chinese medicine has been around for centuries, and is used regularly in China for healing. Traditional Chinese medicine views an individual's health as an interaction between a person and the outside world, and disease as a barrier to this interaction. This type of medicine involves using herbal medicine and treatments such as acupuncture, cupping and massage to help treat the disease. 

13. Mind-body medicine

This is a type of therapy which serves to treat the disease based on meditation, prayer and being in tune with the body. Mind body medicine takes into account the network between the brain, the body, the mind and the behavior of each individual in order to induce healing. By addressing your emotional, spiritual, social and behavioral well-being, mind-body medicine seeks to directly influence your health.

14. Ayurveda

This is a type of healing practice from India which aims to balance and integrate the body, mind and spirit together to help treat a disease. Similar to other traditional healing methods, ayurveda seeks to harmonize the mind with the body and the environment to stimulate healing. In particular, practitioners of ayurveda look at a peron's eyes, ears, nose, genitals and skin.

15. Energy medicine

This type of therapy involves using energy fields that exist in the body to help promote healing. Practitioners of energy medicine view any problem, such as disease, as a counterpart of the body's energy and therefore, seek to heal by moving energy around.

  • Hashkes, Philip J., and Ronald M. Laxer. "Medical treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis." Jama 294.13 (2005): 1671-1684.
  • Rouster-Stevens, Kelly, et al. "How do parents of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) perceive their therapies?." BMC complementary and alternative medicine 8.1 (2008): 25.
  • Anderson, Karen O., et al. "Rheumatoid arthritis: review of psychological factors related to etiology, effects, and treatment." Psychological bulletin 98.2 (1985): 358.
  • Photo courtesy of SteadyHealth

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