Over a quarter of a million children are now being diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. The largest portion of this population consists of children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which basically means the cause is largely unknown.
Parents may write off their child’s symptoms because they can often mimic signs of the flu or an allergic reaction. Itchiness, redness of joints, swelling, and many more symptoms indicative of an arthritic issue have been recorded in children as young as 6 months all the way up to 18 years old. Considering that children’s immune systems aren’t fully developed until about 18, it makes sense that the symptoms they experience are in proportion to how well their immune system regulates itself and adapts to its environment.
If your child has been diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis, there are tools that can help! As we end the month of July and Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, here are four things you and your child can do to improve.
Most people realize that vitamins are essential to overall body function, but we are now beginning to realize just how crucial vitamin D is as a raw material for the overall performance and resilience of the body. It’s important not only for bone and joint health, but it’s actually one of the most important building blocks for developing the immune system. Virtually every cell in the body has receptors for vitamin D, especially the cells making up the immune system. Even if your child does not like being physically active YET, it’s still important to make sure they are getting adequate exposure to sunlight in the middle of the day so that their body can make vitamin D. In most cases, as a nation we still don’t get enough vitamin D so it might be necessary to take a supplement to reach 800 IU intake a day at a minimum. Many sources are now suggesting that it is necessary to take more than that for optimal absorption and utilization by the body.
Many times parents feel compelled to give some sort of sugary treat as a reward for good behavior. This could be one major thing that is contributing to joint inflammation. Candy contains a lot of artificial sweeteners, fillers, and things that were made chemically in a lab. When a child eats these things it’s actually foreign to the body, it raises blood pressure, cortisol, and spikes inflammation……which is basically putting gas on an open flame! The younger your child is, the more likely you can instill healthier eating habits without much push back because they haven’t developed significant association to what is bad or good. One thing to try giving as a reward is something like strawberries, which are quite sweet, or some other fruit. While fruits do contain natural sugar, their bodies knows how to process it so it doesn’t cause such a spike in inflammation and other negative effects in the body.
Everyone knows that smoking is bad, but it really puts things in perspective when people are now saying that sitting is the new smoking! Children today are becoming less physically active than ever before in the history of our nation. When I was growing up I was out in the yard with my best friends and brothers playing wiffle ball to see who can get an in-the-park home run, or even playing street hockey pretending to be in the pursuit to win the next Stanley Cup. Children today are living their childhood through a screen, whether it be playing a game on their parents’ phone, on a tablet, watching movies or playing video games. This one doesn’t take a special formula, other than realizing that more time sitting in front of a screen = less time being active! Parents have more demands placed on them than ever before, so the easiest way to get them active is to give them scheduled screen time. Now if physical activity is an issue because of joint discomfort, the first step would be at least getting them outside and going for a family walk for 30 minutes to instill better lifestyle choices and make them feel that the family isn’t just doing it for them, but that it is a family affair and something that everyone should engage in on a daily basis!
Many times parents are making all the right decisions to help their child that is suffering with Juvenile Arthritis, but it just feels like no matter what they try or what new habit they adopt, they are still left without answers. Families feel hopeless because their child has been labelled with a disease or diagnosis. If we give power to that diagnosis, then it becomes the person; whereas if we realize that optimal health is the real entity, if it is not being expressed then there is something we can do about it.
Children live their lives through their nerve system (the command center) and every human experience we have is processed through the brain, spinal cord and nerves. When there is a structural shift in the spine that has been left unidentified and uncorrected, this causes a disruption. These structural shifts happen as a result of a number of different things such as: in-utero constraint, birth complications, slips and falls, etc. It is essential that a child have their spine and nerve system properly examined by a chiropractor that uses objective technology to assess the function of the nerve system ensure the proper function of their body with specific chiropractic care. When the command center of the body cannot properly send and receive messages to the immune system due to structural shifts in the spine, the immune system becomes compromised and cannot accurately react to demands of the body and the environment which can lead to joint inflammation, aches and other pains and dysfunctions.
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