Spondylitis in children can be roughly referred to spondylitis occurring in children under the age of 16 years which can drag into his or her adult life as well. Medically, the major types of problems related to spondylitis seen in the children are juvenile spondyloarthritis; juvenile ankylosing spondylitis; psoriatic arthritis and reactive arthritis or the condition of spondylosis arising from inflammatory bowel diseases.
Symptoms of Spondylitis in Children
It is not easy to spot juvenile spondyloarthritis as most of the times the condition is episodic in nature and very inconsistent in their manifestation. So often the symptoms start to generate and go away and this cycle continues till the matter becomes regular. Moreover, the symptoms may manifest in various degrees from mild to severe in different patients. While sometimes these children face sudden burst of pain some children face a longer period of chronic suffering.
The common symptoms shown in cases of spondylisis in children are arthritic pain occurring around the heel and the toes, in the knees and also in the lower back. The pain originates in the regions where the bones are attached to the ligaments and tendons. The common symptoms are that of inflammation of the joints, especially the ankles and knees. If the condition continues, then, after quite some time they may affect the joints, especially at the point where the spine and pelvis meet.
Sometimes other symptoms may also develop in children suffering from spondylitis. Psoriasis, fever, colitis or inflammation of the intestine, iritis or inflammation of the eye and in the rarest cases may affect the kidneys, heart or the spinal cord.
Cause and Cure
The exact cause of juvenile spondyloarthritis is not known. But it is believed that genetics has to do something in it. The genetic marker HLA-B27 has been found in those suffering from juvenile spondyloarthritis. Interestingly, this is also found in adults with arthritis.
At this moment nothing can be said surely of a cure for the condition. But various factors can contribute to correct handling of the condition. And among them, the right kinds of tests by the right doctor are very important. Generally it is a case for the pediatric rheumatologist but help of other experts may be needed to pinpoint the problem.
Normally all types of juvenile spondyloarthritis include a common regimen of treatments. They include physical therapy, exercise and practice for good posture; medications and in some severe cases of ankylosing arthritis, surgery. Sometimes, other treatments may also be needed simultaneously to alleviate other problems. So treatment of the skin is carried out simultaneously with treatment of joints in case of psoriatic arthritis.
Physical therapy is the best option to get over juvenile spondyloarthritis and to restore the normal functioning of the body without any side effects.
A routine should include exercises and posture training under a trained physical therapist. Those children suffering from juvenile ankylosing spondylitis can get especially benefited from such therapy.
Hot and Cold Compress
Hot and cold compress is an age old treatment for any type of joint pain. Alternate immersion of the joints in hot water and chilled water can reduce joint swellings as well as pain.
Medication in case of juvenile spondyloarthritis includes application of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. This is the main treatment for all forms of juvenile spondylitis conditions. These drugs take care of the pain and swelling of the joints. When the cases are a little bit serious, steroids may be used.
If these are not found to be enough for the conditions then the second line of action is the use of DMARDs or disease modifying anti rheumatic drugs. They act on the immunity system of the body to stop or reverse the effects of bone degeneration. Modern medicine has developed biological DMARDs and these are being found useful for almost all the forms of arthritis.
Alternative and Other Treatments
These days various other modes of treatment are being used for spondylitis including that occurring among the children. These methods include acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, massage therapy, stimulation of the nerve with electrodes, and yoga. Some of these treatments have been established clinically while the others are yet to be assessed properly.
Effects on the Daily Life of the Child
This is very important in case of children. The child suffering from even the mildest form of the disease can get his or her normal life affected. Thus, the child may suffer from some psychological reactions where it is very important for the family and those around him or her to keep the life as normal as possible.
Encouragement for participating in physical activities is not only good for the mind of an affected child but also for regaining the full ability to move around freely.
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