If your child is experiencing persistent joint pain, unexplained joint swelling, or ongoing muscle pain, our pediatric rheumatologists are here to provide relief for autoimmune diseases. Our goal is to get kids back to being kids and having fun with less pain.
 
Serving San Bernardino and Riverside counties, we offer diagnostic tests and treatment for children and young adults. We accept new referrals up to age 18 and see established patients up to age 21. We also provide referrals and transition plans for ongoing care into adulthood.

Why Choose Us For Your Child’s Rheumatological Care

  • Expert treatment: Your child’s care team includes rheumatologists and specialists with the highest level of expertise to give your child the best outcome possible.
  • Compassionate care: Your child’s well-being is our calling. We treat each child with dignity, respect, and understanding. We’re here to help you through the process every step of the way, from scheduling your child’s first appointment to determining treatment and providing ongoing support.
  • Convenient scheduling: Most of our expert physicians are in one location, making it easier to schedule all your visits on the same day — even between other departments at our Children’s Hospital.
  • Whole person care: Rheumatic diseases often involve multiple systems within the body. We’re committed to looking at your child as a whole person throughout diagnosis and treatment, paying attention to factors like stress, sleep, and diet.

Conditions We Treat

We provide treatment for children with autoimmune diseases of the joints and muscles — also known as rheumatic autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease occurs when a person’s body creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissue, resulting in uncontrolled inflammation (swelling). In many cases, that inflammation causes pain, stiffness, and tissue damage. While most of these conditions cannot be cured, they can be managed to prevent further damage. We treat children with the following conditions and symptoms:

  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which causes limited range of motion and joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
  • Lupus, a chronic (ongoing) condition causing inflammation anywhere in the body. Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening, and is usually more severe in children.
  • Dermatomyositis, a rare condition affecting the skin, muscles, and small blood vessels, often causing rashes and muscle weakness.
  • Vasculitis, inflammation of blood vessels affecting a diverse range of organs
  • Chronic pain

What to Expect

When it comes to rheumatic autoimmune diseases, earlier treatment can mean a better outcome for your child. With proper treatment, the majority of our patients see a decrease in pain and normalization in mobility.

Data reports that over three-quarters of juvenile arthritis patients are able to achieve normal joint function within two years. In addition, about two-thirds of juvenile arthritis patients may be able to come off medications after two years of remission (no disease activity on medications). As our treatments and therapies continue to improve, these numbers get better every few years.

What to Bring

Please bring the following items if you have them (or have your child’s primary care provider send them):

  • A referral note
  • Imaging results from the last six months
  • Labs (bloodwork and urine) from the last six months 

Your First Visit

Your child’s first visit will be an assessment of their current condition. This visit is typically in-person, so our doctors can see their symptoms clearly and conduct a thorough medical history and exam with you and your child. Expect the first visit to last between 40 minutes and one hour. You’ll meet with our team to talk about how your child’s life has been affected by their pain. We may discuss topics like:

  • Pain: How much does it hurt on a scale from 1-10? Are you limping? Is your pain waking you up in the night? Does your pain improve or worsen throughout the day?
  • Mobility: Do you have trouble walking at school? Do you feel pain or stiffness when you get out of bed in the morning? Do you have swollen joints that do not get better?
  • Impact: Have you stopped doing activities you enjoy? When other kids are playing sports, do you stay back? Are you having difficulty with normal daily activities, such as opening bottles and jars?
  • Associated symptoms: Does your child often run a fever? Do they have any unexplained rashes?

Diagnosis

The most effective treatment starts with an accurate diagnosis, understanding your child’s unique symptoms, and how symptoms affect day-to-day life. Our specialists may use a combination of the following diagnostic services to diagnose your child’s condition:

  • Blood and urine tests, to determine the presence of autoantibodies (which may indicate an autoimmune disorder).
  • Electromyography, to detect muscular abnormalities.
  • Imaging tests, to take images of your child’s joints, including the cartilage and bone. These tests might include X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, and/or MRI.
  • Complete physical examination, to evaluate your child’s joint mobility and how much pain movement causes.

Treatment

Once our doctors determine a diagnosis, we work with you to find the best possible form of treatment for your child and lifestyle. We offer a variety of treatments to manage rheumatic disease and help your child feel their best, including:

  • Oral medication that inhibits autoimmunity and decreases inflammation
  • Injection and infusion therapies as alternatives to oral medication
  • Nutrition and supplement recommendations from our registered dietitians
  • Physical and occupational therapy to improve range of motion

Follow-up Visits

After the first visit, follow-up visits may be remote or in-office. While some patients may need follow-up for only a few months, many others need longer-term support with regular appointments.

Once your child turns 21, we’ll support them in finding a rheumatologist who cares for adults.

Referrals and Insurance

We accept most insurances, including Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) and Medi-Cal.

Most insurances will require a referral from your primary care provider. If you're not sure what your insurance requires, call us at 909-651-1904 and we'll help you navigate the process.

Take the Next Step

If you need answers and relief for your child’s pain, don’t wait. Call us today at 909-651-1904 to schedule an appointment.