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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
OxPARC

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Illnesses

Below is an overview of some of the conditions we treat.

We are happy to discuss any specific case with you, subject to permission from the child's parents. Please contact us.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is an inflammatory condition affecting around 1 in 1000 children. It results in pain, swelling, stiffness and reduced function of the joint and limbs.

Most children are surprisingly good at accommodating these problems and cope extremely well. However, uncontrolled inflammation will result in a reduced ability to join in school and classroom activities and may express itself as tiredness, irritability or frustration.

As with all inflammatory diseases, JIA relapses and remits, which means it is important for teachers to realise that symptoms may vary greatly from day to day.

Sometimes the child may appear quite well but the following day they may be markedly affected. Pain may not appear to be a predominant feature, but is usually genuine if reported. Stiffness may predominate, especially in the mornings.

Although we have many good medicines we are often unable to suppress JIA completely. However our aim is always for a child to lead a full school life and to be included in activities and treated as normal. This may require some creative thinking in order to give the child as much opportunity as if JIA were not present and as much assistance as possible to promote independence.

Other inflammatory diseases

The A-Z of diseases and disorders has general information about most diagnoses. Information above on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis may also be relevant.

Please note that inflammation varies from day to day and this can add to the child's frustration.

Lupus (SLE)

This is an inflammatory condition that may affect any organ, and often several at a time.

Although we have many effective medicines, fatigue and non inflammatory joint pain can be difficult to control. We use home exercises, pacing and other coping strategies to deal with these frustrating features.

Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM)

This is an inflammatory condition that affects skin and muscles. Muscle inflammation often makes it difficult moving between classes and particularly climbing stairs. Upper limb involvement makes it difficult dressing and raising their arms above their heads.

Chronic pain syndrome

Chronic pain syndrome occurs when the pain pathway sends the wrong signals and pain alone causes a marked reduction in quality of life. There is no evidence of inflammation or tissue damage.

All support for children and teenagers with chronic pain syndrome is focused on enabling them and so improving their quality of life.

The extent of guidance and support varies. With the parent's permission, we are happy to discuss ways to improve routines and maximise participation in school.