Coping With Discomfort

Coping with flare-ups can be difficult. Not only do they present physical discomfort, they also lead to your mental energy being drained, which has knock on effects on the rest of your day.

A helpful approach to tackle any discomfort is known as the three legged stool model. Similar to how a stool that loses a leg can’t stand up, similarly it’s impossible to tackle discomfort by missing one of the three legs. Here’s an explanation of what they mean:

The first leg of the stool is made up of interventional treatments. These include direct measures such as surgery, injections and similar treatments.

The second leg consists of pharmaceutical approaches. These treatments require input from both a healthcare professional and the person being treated for the discomfort.

When it relates to discomfort from flare-ups, these 2 approaches are often the only ones used. However, just as a stool requires 3 legs, so does the ideal treatment regimen for pain. The third leg of the stool is made up of lifestyle and psychological approaches. Using these all in tandem is key to tackling the discomfort associated with flare-ups.

Here are some tips to help you further increase your practice:

Optimise Your Skincare

Prevention is better than cure, so using a prevenatative approach to flare-ups is key. By topping up your emollient use, especially when things are good, you’re helping to prevent future exacerbations.

Practice Relaxation Therapy

Relaxation therapy has been shown to help control the painful sensations related to eczema. There are multiple guided sessions that you’ll find within the Proton Health app to assist with your practice.

Talk To Others

A support network is pivotal when you’re going through challenging periods. By opening up and sharing discomfort with others, it helps to release the happy chemicals in the brain. This, in turn, reduces stress, which is a major driver of pain.

Spotlight It

When we experience pain, we have a tendency to try to avoid it. But, interestingly, the research shows that by spending focussed time leaning into the pain, it helps to reduce its sensations. You’ll find spotlighting sessions within the app to guide you through this process.

Identify Negative Behaviours

Over the years, it’s easy to get into bad habits whenever we experience pain. For some this is comfort eating, whereas others it’s failing to exercise. By first identifying these negative behaviours, you can begin to amend them.

Exercise for natural endorphins

Exercise does wonders for the body. In particular, it helps to release natural endorphins which help to ease pain.


The final thing to remember is that painful sensations are just that, sensations. So it’s important to recognise that these isolated feelings don’t define your entire experience. Use the above techniques and the guided sessions within the Proton Health app to further reduce any painful sensations.

August 1, 2022
Dr Noreen Akram
Proton Health Programme
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