This page is provided by Thomas J. A. Lehman MD

Delivering the best care - with great care

 Dr. Lehman is the author of many textbook chapters and articles on the care of children and young adults with SLE.  He practices in New York City.  Click here for more information about Dr. Lehman or the Hospital for Special Surgery.


There is nothing more frustrating than realizing that you or your child has an illness that the doctor can't 'cure.' Every one of us thinks, there must be something I can do about it. Even if we don't think of it ourselves, our friends, our neighbors, even people we meet on the street are quick to tell us they know somebody who knows somebody who stopped eating tomatoes, started eating a low fat diet, took large doses of vitamin C, ate shark cartilage or did something else AND THEY GOT BETTER. My goodness , we think. Why don't I try that. It can't hurt!!!!

Brazilain herbal 'curer' with a selection of his wares on display in the city square in Sao Paulo, Brazil. For many poor Brazilians this is the only health care they can afford. Unfortunately it's not very helpful.

Click here for information on a book I have written which discusses this subject in more detail

Often the 'new discoveries' are harmless and I have no objection to people who are under a doctor's care 'trying things.' Unfortunately sometimes people try 'alternative medicine' without getting a proper medical evaluation first. I've seen children with cancer who went undiagnosed for six months while their families' gave them health food to fix things. One of my patient's cousins died of Vitamin D overdose! A chiropractor told him it would strengthen his bones. One of my patients with lupus nearly died because he stopped his prednisone when an Oriental faith healer told him it was interfering with 'his cure.'

Everyone wants to do everything they can for themselves and their children. If you are going to use 'alternative' health care, diets, pills, or whatever, there are three important things to remember.

1) Make sure you have been carefully evaluated and you continue to take the medicines your doctor recommends.

2) Make sure the 'medication' or special diet you are taking is safe!! Also make sure your doctor knows so he can be sure it won't interfere with the medicine you are supposed to be taking. If you're too shy to tell your doctor about your special ..... You shouldn't do it!!! Tragedies can result!!!!

3) Remember that numerous studies have shown that one-third of patients will feel better in any six month period no matter what medication they are taking. The person who swears to you that a special diet made them get better isn't crazy or lying; they may very well have gotten better at that time, but that doesn't mean anything about your case.

If you can afford to take harmless supplements and they make you feel better, that's great. We all want to feel we are doing everything possible. However, when you spend $100 on a bottle of shark cartilage, are you throwing away money that you need for something else?? If there was an alternative medicine that worked for people with arthritis, every one of us would be happy to recommend it.

Sometimes we read in the newspaper about a new cure that doctors have discovered. As a doctor who has done a lot of research, I'm always interested, just like you are. Most of the time what you read about as 'new' today, those of us caring for patients have been hearing about for years. Recently several of my patients were very amused to see headlines about a wonderful new cure. They'd already tried it for six months and didn't get any better. The medical community is constantly searching for better treatments. There are thousands of abstracts being sent to scientific meetings every year with new ideas and hope for making everyone better. The new developments to pay attention to are the ones that are still being talked about a year later. That's very few of them. Often the 'new cure' in the newspaper can't be had for any price. Even more often, something seemed to work in a few patients, just like the diets above. When it gets extended to a large number of patients for careful testing it doesn't work, but the newspapers never get around to reporting that it didn't work. Funny, isn't it. When you hear about something new in the newspaper, wait six months. Then see if it's still around. Often it's gone. Sometimes because it didn't work. Sometimes because it causes harm. It takes years of careful testing for new drugs or techniques to reach public availability.


My book –click here to order at a discount from


    Dr. Tom Lehmans experience and compassion are evident on every page of this book, and they help guide the readerchild, parent, and healthcare professional alike through the world of childhood arthritis.  This book is an absolute gem written with a single goal in mind:  improve the lives of kids with arthritis. -- Jack Klippel, M.D. President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation


     Dr. Lehman has given parents and families of children with arthritis the first book that speaks to the parent and child as equals.  His book explains the illnesses, the medications, the lab tests, and the disease course in simple, understandable lay language and givens them valuable insight into how a pediatric rheumatologist thinks.  Bravo!-- Charles Spencer, M.D., Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, University of Chicago, La Rabida


It’s not just growing pains.
A guide to childhood muscle, bone, and joint pain,
rheumatic diseases and the latest treatments


Click here to see the table of contents


It has always been a frustration trying to answer the many questions I have received from people over the web.  I can’t take the time and give them the detail I would like to.  I have to take care of my patients.  This book is a distillation of my experience answering questions for parents and health professionals over 25 years of practice.  If you want to know about the diseases, the tests, the medications, or how to be sure you are getting the best care– If you are the family member of a child with joint pains, this book will give you the answers.  If you are a general physician, a pediatrician, or a nurse who cares for children with these diseases it will answer many of the questions families ask you, and you can recommend it to them.  It will also answer many of your questions about what shots to give, what precautions to take, and the other questions families, pediatricians, and other health care providers have asked me over the years.


Dr. Lehman is the author of many textbook chapters and articles on the care of children and young adults with rheumatic diseases including SLE, JRA, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, Kawasaki disease and related conditions.  He practices in New York City.  Click here for more information about Dr. Lehman or the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Click here if you are interested in making an appointment with Dr. Lehman

Click here for BOOKS on childhood arthritis

This site provided by Thomas J. A. Lehman MD
Chief, Division of Pediatric Rheumatology
The Hospital for Special Surgery
535 E 70 St,
New York, NY 10021
212-606-1151, fax 212-606-1938, e-mail

 Systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, Scleroderma, progressive systemic sclerosis, pss, jra, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, childhood arthritis, growing pains, rheumatism, children with pain, bone pain, pediatric specialists, my child hurts, chronic disease, chronic childhood illness, the best care, Kawasaki disease, mixed connective tissue disease, SLE, JCA, JIA, juvenile chronic arthritis,  sports injuries, frequent sports injuries, cyclophosphamide, Methotrexate, diclofenac, voltaren, Relafen, children’s health care, educational materials, pediatric resources, public health education, health education, school nurse materials, help for school nurses.