Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A Type of Spinal Inflammatory Arthritis

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is uncommon and affects children ages 16 years and younger. The type of JIA that affects the spine is ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Young girl holding her neck with a pained expressionTreatment may include:

  • Medications
    As with more common osteoarthritis, treatment often begins with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (eg, naproxen). Although most patients' symptoms respond well to anti-inflammatory medication, these drugs do not treat the underlying disease. Sometimes medications are not strong enough.

    Unlike osteoarthritis, in inflammatory arthritis, certain medications can affect the actual disease. For example, TNF-blocking drugs may help block a protein that can cause inflammation (Tumor Necrosis Factor). Etanercept (Enbrel) and adalimumab (Humira) are two types of TNF-blockers that may stop disease progression.
  • Physical therapy, therapeutic exercise
    Physical therapy stresses proper posture, joint mobility, and deep breathing. Some patients may develop forward posture; therefore, postural training and extension exercise is helpful. Stretching and range of motion exercise helps keep the facet and rib joints mobile. Additionally, deep breathing expands the chest (rib joints) and aids lung function.

Spinal Inflammatory Arthritis Glossary

Note: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) was previously known as Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).

Updated on: 05/30/17
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Complications of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
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Complications of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

The disease process of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) varies by type, disease activity, and severity. Usually, severity of symptoms fluctuates in a series of flares and remissions.
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