Learning to Roll with Flare-ups


Dr. Bronnwyn Thompson provides pragmatic information on recognising and managing flare-ups, and has some cautionary words and sage advice for healthcare practitioners.

Identify your early warning signs

Even though a flare-up can feel like it’s come from out of the blue, mostly there are early warning signs that perhaps haven’t quite been recognised (or have been ignored because something else is more important than pain intensity). It can be a period of feeling really good (so that the normal coping strategies don’t feel quite as relevant, and are just a bit easier to forget to do). It can be fatigue, or feeling a little overloaded. It can be a rotten night’s sleep, or a really busy day without the normal recovery time."

"Health professionals

If we aim to prevent flare-ups, we’re on a hiding to nowhere. ... If flare-ups are common, what are we doing as health professionals, to help people with pain learn to roll with the fluctuations? ... We may try to dig deep into what may be causing the flare-up, we may ask the person to stop doing things, or alter their programme to prevent the flare-ups from “getting worse”. Or we may simply avoid discussing them at all. None of these approaches seem helpful to me. ...

... We can remind people of the skills they have and think of asking them which options they’d like to use."


Read more about flare-ups from Dr. Bronnwyn Thomphson's Article: FLARE-UPS AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM