The resources on this page are for adults, youth, and professionals who want to learn more about pain. Subjects include: how pain works, how the brain and body can become sensitized to pain, info about specific conditions, sleep, mindfulness, books, apps and websites for pain reduction, and more. Like what you learned? Sign up for a workshop!


How Pain Works 


Tame the Beast: How the brain learns pain (5 min video) - Moseley

The science of pain (5 min video) - Pate, TED Ed

The psychology of pain - Dr. Beth Darnall, Stanford

Understanding pain (5 min video) - Hunter Integrated Pain Service

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

Melzack on the Gate Control Theory of Pain (12 mins. Warning: nerdy.)

Collection of pediatric pain resources & videos: The Meg Foundation



Think Pain is Purely Medical? Think Again

A Tale of Two Nails: What Changes Pain? 

What is CBT for pain? 

What is pain? (Moseley)

The role of the brain in pain: Understanding the basics of pain (article)

Pain & the brain (U Wisconsin, brief handout)

Neuromatrix theory of pain (Chronic Pain Institute) 

Non-pharmacological pain treatments  (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 power of "brain training" (HA magazine)

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

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

A list of pain education websites

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



Pain is Biopsychosocial!

The causes of - and, therefore, most effective treatments for - chronic pain are bio-psycho-social. This means that the best way to manage pain is to target not only the biological underpinnings of pain ("biomedical"), but also thoughts, emotions, coping behaviors, and social functioning. For more info & scientific evidence:

Gatchel & Howard’s user-friendly guide to the BPS model of pain

Pain treatment is biopsychosocial (Bevers et al)

Psychosocial contributions to chronic pain outcomes (Meints & Edwards)

Psychosocial processes affect the development & maintenance of chronic pain (Edwards et al 2016)

A biopsychosocial formulation of pain communication (Hadjistavropoulos et al) - great academic paper!

Biopsychosocial assessment and formulation of pediatric pain (Liossi & Howard)

Evidence-based psychosocial interventions for pediatric pain management (Coakley & Wihak)

Psychological pain treatments change neurophysiology (Flor)

Pain is NOT biomedical: An expose of the opiate epidemic and Big Pharma (NPR, Lembke)

Moseley's take on the biopsychosocial model (podcast/article)

Research Uncovers Potential Treatment for Chronic Pain (Zoffness)



Pain Providers + Programs

The American Association of Pain Psychology: providers

Full list of Pediatric Pain programs here

 How to find a Pain Psychologist (Darnall)



Central Sensitization, Amplified Pain

(How does pain become chronic?)

Understanding amplified pain 

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 

 CBT for pain sensitization (Moseley)

Pediatric CRPS: background, treatment options and CBT



Missing School

Should my child go to school with pain? (Harvard) 

Getting kids in pain to school (N. Darling)

Helping kids with pain get out of bed (N. Darling)

Returning to school helps the brain recover from pain, headaches and concussions (

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

American Headache Society Practice Guidelines: The majority of studies examining the efficacy of preventive medications for pediatric migraine fail to demonstrate superiority to placebo (e.g. a sugar pill). Drugs were associated with higher rates of adverse events & negative side effects.

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) for Chronic Migraine in youth (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)

(See above section on missing school)

NOTE: "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." (Cleveland Clinic)


 Stomachache, GI/Abdominal Pain

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)

"Gut Feeling" (UCLA Health, great article on gut-brain connection) 

What causes IBS? (International Foundation for GI Disorders)

Psychological interventions for IBS (article) 

IBS and RAP (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 have a "gut feeling." 



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




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

Central sensitization and fibromyalgia (article)

CBT for 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 (



Neurofibromatosis (NF)

What is NF? (The Neurofibromatosis Network)

NF brochure with state-specific chapters (The Neurofibromatosis Network)

NF guide for parents (Washington University Physicians)



Mindfulness for Pain

Research Uncovers Potential Treatment for Chronic Pain (Zoffness, 2020)

Mind-Body Therapies for Opioid-Treated Pain (JAMA, 2019 - full article)

Mindfulness for managing chronic pain (PsychCentral)

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

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

Nonpharmacological approaches to pain management  (NY Times) - a great read!

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



Stress, Anxiety & Pain

ACES = Adverse Childhood Experiences: studies indicates that early exposure to stressors is associated with the development of chronic pain & illness.

CDC ACES report: how toxic stress & traumatic experiences in childhood lead to health issues later in life

Relationship between stress and pain (VMC)

Relationship between chronic pain and anxiety: Institute for Chronic Pain

Anxiety and catastrophizing mediate the experience of adolescent pain (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)

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

 A collection of articles on CBT for stress and pain




Do anti-depressants work?: Check the evidence before medicating yourself or your child (Dr. Bruce Levine)

Symptoms of depression in youth (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 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)

Articles on biofeedback for pain

App 1. Breathe2Relax (free in app store)

App 2. Welltory Heart Rate Monitor (free in app store)

HOW TO FIND a biofeedback provider



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

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

Screens disrupt sleep cycles: melatonin (Scientific American) - good read!

Apps: 1) Relax Melodies, 2) CBT-I Coach (for insomnia & sleep issues)

SEE Guided Audio, below


Screens & Social Media

How screens are hijacking your dopamine-reward-pathway (Harvard)

What screens do to the brain (Psychology Today)

Social media use increases 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 kids 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 depression, anxiety, self-injurious thoughts and suicidal ideation, 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 these issues.


For youth:

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


For parents:

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

Pain in Children & Young Adults: The Journey Back to Normal, by Zeltzer & Zeltzer

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

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

When Your Child Hurts, by R. Coakley

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

Drug Dealer MD, by A. Lembke

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

Compilation of resources for parents: ChildKind 


For providers:

The Pain Management Workbook, by R. Zoffness (adult-focused)

The Chronic Pain & Illness Workbook for Teens, by R. Zoffness (youth-focused)

Pain: The Science of Suffering, by P. Wall

Why Do I Hurt, by A. Louw

Explain Pain, by Butler & Moseley

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

CBT for Chronic Pain: Therapist Manual, by J. Murphy

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


Drug Dealer MD, by A. Lembke

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

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


For adults:

The Pain Management Workbook, by R. Zoffness 

Pain: The Science of Suffering, by P. Wall

The Pain Survival Guide, by Turk & Winter

Why Do I Hurt, by A. Louw

Explain Pain, by Butler & Moseley

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

Drug Dealer MD, by A. Lembke


**Guided Audio** 

Audio for pain: The Chronic Pain & Illness Workbook (create an account for free access)


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


Relaxation Audio for kids: Bedtime Explorers for sleep


Calm Your Nervous System: free 20-minute guided relaxation audio with binaural technology to deepen the relaxation response.




WebMAP mobile  (Seattle Children's Hospital)

UCLA Mindful (free & awesome)

CBT-I Coach (for insomnia)

Stop Breathe Think 

Relax Melodies


Rain Rain



A collection of pain trackers and apps

APA Health Psychology recommended apps



Pain Podcasts

Pain Reframed

Modern Pain Podcast

Healing Pain Podcast 

 Straight Talk MD

Pedia Pain Focus



- 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.-