Resources


The resources on this page are for parents, teens, and professionals who want to learn more about pediatric pain and illness. Below you can find some of my favorite links. Subjects include: how pain works, how the brain and body can become sensitized to pain, various conditions (e.g., migraines, stomachaches, concussion), sleep, mindfulness, books for parents and kids, apps and websites for pain reduction, and more.

 

 

How Pain Works 

Videos

How the brain learns pain (5 min video) - Dr. Lorimer Moseley

Understanding pain (5 min video)

How to explain pain to kids (4 min video) - BC Children's Hospital

Learning how to manage pain (12 min video) - Stanford Children's Health

Pain Bytes (video series) - Pain Management Network, Australia

The psychology of pain (video) - Dr. Beth Darnall, Stanford

 

Articles

What is pain? (Lorimer Moseley)

There is no pain without the brain: Understanding the basics of pain (article)

What is CBT for pain? (Zoffness)

Gate Control Theory of Pain (short article, Center for Integrated Health Care)

Opening and Closing the Pain Gates (Veritas Health)

Neuromatrix theory of pain (Chronic Pain Institute) 

CBT for chronic pain (APA) 

Psychological interventions for chronic pain (Journal of Psych Research and Behavior Management)

Pain control techniques (article) 

Distraction strategies for pain (Journal: PAIN - PDF article download)

Mood & attention regulate the experience of pain (NPR)

Pain catastrophizing: Negative mood states and negative thoughts affect pain (Journal: Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics)

The impact of mood on pain: Laughter as Medicine  (Scientific American) 

The Neuroscience of pain (The New Yorker) - a great read!

~The funniest ever version of the pain scale, in case you need to laugh.~

 

 

Sensitization, Amplified pain

(How does pain become chronic?)

Understanding amplified pain (Children's Hosptial of Philadelphia)

Understanding CRPS  (Mayo Clinic)

Pain itself makes brains more sensitive to pain: Central sensitization (Pain Science article)

Central sensitization (Institute for Chronic Pain)

How CBT can de-sensitize and re-train your brain: neuroplasticity video

 Amplified pain, CRPS & CBT (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

 CBT for pain sensitization (Dr. Lorimer Moseley)

Pediatric CRPS: background, treatment options and CBT

 

 

Missing School 

Should my child go to school with pain? (Harvard Medical School/Boston Children's Hospital) 

Getting kids in pain to school 

Helping kids with pain get out of bed 

Returning to school helps the brain recover from pain, headaches and concussions (getschooledonconcussions.com)

School Refusal (ADAA)

Why are more teenagers than ever suffering from severe anxiety? How missing school makes anxiety, stress and pain worse (NY Times 2017) 

 

 

Migraine & Headache

In children & adolescents, "emotional stress is one of the most common triggers of migraine headache. Migraine sufferers are generally found to be highly affected by stressful events. During stressful events, certain chemicals in the brain are released to combat the situation (know as the “flight or fight” response). The release of these chemicals can provoke vascular changes that can cause migraine. Repressed emotions surrounding stress, such as anxiety, worry, excitement and fatigue can increase muscle tension and dilated blood vessels can intensify the severity of migraine headaches." (Cleaveland Clinic)

Headache relief guide: Strategies for coping with pain (Children's Mercy Hospital)

CBT helps pediatric migraines (JAMA)

Screen time is associated with increased risk of migraines in children (International Headache Society)

Understanding Pain (5 min video)

Migraines & stress (American Migraine Foundation)

The relationship between migraine, anxiety, and depression (J of Headache Pain)

Why people with chronic head pain experience anxiety and depression (J of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry)

The importance of normalizing depressed mood in chronic headache patients: Of course your mood is low, you're constantly in pain! (Journal: Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira)

Behavioral treatment for migraines in children and adolescents 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Plus Amitriptyline for Chronic Migraine in Children and Adolescents (JAMA)

Exercise can help migraines & headaches (American Migraine Foundation)

Migraine Guide (American Chronic Pain Assoc)

Relaxation techniques effective for headaches and migraine (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

Should my child go to school with pain? (Harvard Medical School/Boston Children's Hospital)

(See above section on missing school)

 

 

 

 Stomachache & GI Issues

The gut-brain connection (Harvard)

Your gut is your "second brain": Your enteric nervous system (Johns Hopkins)

Relationship between your gut and depression/anxiety (Journal: Molecular Psychiatry)

How your gut and mood influence each other (Scientific American)

How stress & anxiety cause GI pain & diarrhea (article)

Psychological interventions for IBS (article) 

IBS and RAP in kids (video)

Enteric Nervous System (GI tract) and serotonin (CalTech)

IBS and serotonin (Canadian Society of Intestinal Research)

 There is more serotonin in your gut than in your brain! Your GI tract contains 80-90% of the serotonin in your body. This means that your stomach is highly sensitive to emotions. No wonder you get "butterflies," stomachaches, and nausea when you're stressed or anxious, why you "trust your gut instincts," and "feel it in your gut"! 

 

 

Concussion & TBI

Post-concussion syndrome treatment: Mayo Clinic

Guidelines for return-to-school post-concussion (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Concussion Toolkit for Therapists (American Psychological Assoc., UC Denver medical school)

CBT for pediatric post-concussion syndrome (Journal: Pediatric News)

Graduated "return to play" program for pediatric concussion & TBI (Rocky Mtn Hospital for Children)

 

 

Functional Neurologic Disorder

(FND = Conversion Disorder)

Mayo Clinic: causes, symptoms, treatment 

Brain-Body Connection: Somatization (Kelty brochure)

Kelty: understanding FND, Conversion, and Somatization Disorders

 

 

Fibromyalgia

The relationship between pain, stress, and fibromyalgia (article)

Central sensitization and fibromyalgia (article)

CBT for pediatric fibromyalgia and amplified pain (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

Pacing for fibromyalgia (Campbell & Lapp)

Neuromatrix Theory of pain and fibromyalgia (Institute for Chronic Pain)

 

 

Juvenile Arthritis

Pain management for children with juvenile arthritis (kidsgetarthritistoo.org)

 (See also: Chronic Pain + Sensitization)

 

 

Tics

How to explain tics to kids:  Electrical energy is released in the "movement centers" of your brain. The brain then sends signals to your muscles telling them to move - even though you haven't made the decision to move them. This results in an involuntary movement, or a tic. It does not mean you are broken - it's just some extra electrical energy in your brain & body!

CBiT: CBT for tic disorders (Tourette Assoc of America)

What is CBT for tics? (Cincinnati Children's Hospital) 

Common questions about CBT for childhood tics (tourette.org)

CBiT provider toolkit: info about tics, causes, prevalence & treatment (Tourette Association of America)

Habit reversal therapy: using a premonitory signal to reduce tics (Child Mind Institute, video) 

 *Note: some children don't see their tics as a problem or a "disorder" and don't feel the need to get rid of them. To support them in this, find a good therapist who is like-minded.

 

 

Mindfulness for Pain

Mindfulness for managing chronic pain (PsychCentral)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): How mindfulness changes the experience of pain in the brain  

Mind-Body approach to pain (Communitas: Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF)

Alternatives to drugs for treating pain (NY Times) - a great read!

Mindfulness & distraction effective for pediatric pain (Int Assoc for the Study of Pain)

 

 

Stress, Anxiety & Pain

Why are more American teenagers than ever suffering from anxiety? (NYT magazine)

Relationship between stress and pain (VMC)

Relationship between chronic pain and anxiety: Institute for Chronic Pain

Anxiety and catastrophizing mediate the effect of pain in teens (journal article)

Physical effects of stress on the body (APA)

Sources of childhood stress that can trigger/maintain pain (KidsHealth)

Stress and time management tips for teens (Sutter Health)

Anxiety and stress negatively affect pain: 50 signs of stress in the BODY

Anxiety in children (AACAP)

School refusal is often a sign of anxiety (ADAA)

Try CBT before drugs for childhood insomnia (American College of Physicians)

Other articles on (CBT) for anxiety: 

Child Mind Institute (CBT effective for childhood anxiety)

Mayo Clinic (CBT for anxiety explained)

 

 

Depression

Symptoms of depression in kids and teens (Mayo Clinic)

Serotonin & endorphins: increase "happy hormones" to improve mood

Parent guide to teen depression & suicide warning signs (Help Guide: Harvard health)

Exercise, nature & being social  can improve mood and self-esteem (journal)

CBT for childhood depression  (Society of Child & Adolescent Clinical Psych)

Laughter & depression: Harvard Neuroscience Institute

Effects of laughter on the brain: Livestrong

Self-injury: Why do teens cut? (Mayo Clinic)

 

 

Biofeedback 

Biofeedback and relaxation therapy: definition (MHNI)

Biofeedback for headaches (Amer. Migraine Foundation)

Efficacy of biofeedback for headaches (journal article)

Four apps to relieve tension and pain

Underpinnings of biofeedback: The Skin You're In (Dr. Erik Peper)

*HOW TO FIND a Biofeedback Provider*

 

 

 Sleep Difficulties

Sleep hygiene: 5 tips for sleeping well, with or without pain! (Palermo & Law)

Sleep disturbances in youth with pain are linked to depressed mood, reductions in daily functioning, and reduced quality of life (Palermo & Kiska, J of Pain)

Why screens disrupt kids' sleep cycles: melatonin (Scientific American) - good read!

Sleep-aid app: Relax Melodies (for iPhone + Android)

*SEE Guided Audio, below*

 

 

Screens & Social Media

What screens do to kids' brains (Psychology Today)

Social media use increases teen anxiety and decreases self-esteem (Child Mind Institute)
Kids and smartphones (TIME mag)

Tips for taking control of smartphones (Humane Tech - this website is GREAT!)

The LIKE movie (show it to your kids)

Apps ranked by happiness/unhappiness ratings: apps affect mood

Tips for getting children off screens

Strategies for monitoring teen's social media use: internet safety

  • recent study showed that teens who spent more time on social media and electronic devices were more likely to report mental health issues, while teens who spent more time on non-screen activities (in-person social interaction, sports, exercise, HW, print media, etc) were less likely to struggle with anxiety, depression or self-injury.
  • Teens who spent more hours on electronic devices were more likely to feel hopeless or suicidal than kids who used devices less. Teens who used electronic devices more reported more hopelessness, depression, and/or suicidal ideation. Teens who used social media daily were more likely to report higher levels of depressive symptoms than those who used social media less frequently.
  • Screen time may be a risk factor for anxiety, depression, and suicidality, particularly among teens who spend more time on screens and less time engaged in in-person social interactions, physical activity, and other non-screen activities.

Source: Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among US adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.

 

 

BOOKS!! 

Books on pain for youth:

COMING SOON: The Chronic Pain & Illness Workbook for Teens, by R. Zoffness

Be the Boss of Your Pain: Self-Care for Kids, by Kajander & Culbert

Imagine a Rainbow: A Child’s Guide for Soothing Pain, by B. Miles

GrrrOUCH!: Pain is Like a Grouchy Bear, by C. Morgan

 

Books on pain for parents:

Conquering Your Child’s Chronic Pain, by L. Zeltzer

Relieve Your Child’s Chronic Pain, by E. Krane

Managing Your Child’s Chronic Pain, by Palermo & Law

A Child in Pain: How to Help, What to do, by L. Kuttner

When Your Child Hurts, by R. Coakley

Book list for parents: Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Compilation of resources for parents: ChildKind 

 

Books on pain for therapists:

COMING SOON: The Chronic Pain & Illness Workbook for Teens, by R. Zoffness

CBT for Chronic Pain in Children and Adolescents, by T. Palermo 

A Child in Pain: What Health Professionals Can Do To Help, by L. Kuttner

Managing Chronic Pain: A CBT Approach, by J. Otis

Treating Somatic Symptoms in Children and Adolescents, by Williams & Zahka

 

 

**Guided Audio** 

Relaxation Audio: The Comfort-Ability, Harvard/Boston Children's Hospital 

 

Relaxation Audio: Seattle Children's Hospital (middle of the page)

 

Relaxation Audio: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR; under "Practices" on the left)

 

Relaxation Audio: Guided Meditations, UCLA 

 

Relaxation Audio: Dawn Buse

 

FREE apps for phones: Stop Breathe Think 

                                               Relax Melodies

                                               Rain Rain

                                               A collection of pain trackers and apps

 

 

- Dr. Zoffness is not responsible for the content, claims or representations of the listed sites.

This information does not constitute or replace therapeutic or medical advice.-