Research update: Measuring pain as a symptom of atopic dermatitis (AD)

Do you or your child experience pain caused by AD? Pain is not as well understood, nor is it one of the most commonly discussed markers of AD – instead, it is an accepted side effect of other prominent symptoms like itch and dryness. Thankfully, recent research suggests that simple measurement tools, such as numerical rating scales (NRS) specific to skin pain as well as overall pain, are not only helpful, but an accurate way to qualitatively measure discomfort caused the various symptoms of AD.

It is likely you experience the sensation in different ways and it may be difficult to express when speaking with your doctor. These tools take into account the variability in sensations (i.e. burning vs. stabbing pain) and can help better understand the impact of the condition beyond itch and redness, and help inform and evaluate the patient’s treatment plan.

For example, when speaking with your doctor, you may want to rate the pain as it relates to itching/scratching, or how the skin feels when treated with moisturizer or topical therapies. All these types of pain can be described differently, have different sensations, and as a result, may be treated differently.

If you or your child experiences pain related to AD/eczema, be sure to tell a qualified health care professional as they can help find a way to help.