The resources on this page are for parents, teens, and professionals who want to learn more about pain and illness. Below you can find some of my favorite links. Subjects include: how pain works, central sensitization/chronic/amplified pain, missing school, headaches and migraines, stomachaches, concussion/TBI, fibromyalgia, arthritis,  anxiety/stress, depression, biofeedback, sleep, social media, books for parents and kids, and Guided Audio for relaxation and pain (websites + apps).



How Pain Works 

Understanding pain (5 min video)

Helping kids manage pain (12 min video) - Dr. Jody Thomas, Stanford

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

Gate Control Theory of Pain (3 min video: go to "projects" on right-hand side, then "what is pain")

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

Opening and Closing the Pain Gates: Veritas Health

Melzack's Neuromatrix theory of pain (Chronic Pain Institute) 

The role of psychology in pain: Stanford (video)

CBT for chronic pain (APA) 

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

Eleven pain control techniques (article) 

Distraction techniques for pain (Journal: PAIN - see picture at bottom of page)

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

Mood & attention regulate the experience of pain (NPR)

Thoughts Shape Pain (Neuro Journal)

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)

Brain-Body Connection: Somatization

Mindfulness for managing chronic pain (PsychCentral)

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

Alternatives to drugs for treating pain (NY Times)


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



Central Sensitization, CRPS, and Amplified pain

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 can help treat Central Sensitization in people struggling with pain

Pediatric CRPS: background, treatment options and CBT

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



Missing School 

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

Getting kids in pain to school (article for parents)

Helping kids with pain get out of bed (article for parents)

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) 



Migraines & Headaches

Understanding Pain (5 min video)

Gate Control Theory of Pain (3 min video: go to "projects" on right-hand side, then "what is pain")

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)

Behavioral treatment for migraines in children and adolescents 

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

Exercise helps 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)



 Stomachaches & GI/abdominal pain

The gut-brain connection (Harvard)

Your stomach is your "second brain" (Johns Hopkins)

Relationship between GI pain and emotions (Scientific American)

GI distress: How your brain can affect your stomach (article) 

IBS and RAP in kids (video)

IBS and serotonin: Your GI tract contains neurons like the ones in your brain. In fact, your gut contains 80-90% of the serotonin in your body - which is more than the amount of serotonin in your brain. This means that your stomach is highly sensitive to emotions. No wonder you get butterflies, stomachaches, and nausea when you're stressed, nervous, or sad!!  (Canadian Society of Intestinal Research)



Concussion & TBI

Post-concussive syndrome treatment: Mayo Clinic

Kids should slowly return to school to help the brain recover from a concussion (

CBT and other interventions for post-concussive syndrome and TBIs (American Psychological Association and UC Denver medical school)

Tips for helping kids recover from a concussion: American Academy of Pediatrics

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



Gate Control Theory of Pain (3 min video: go to "projects" on right-hand side, then "what is pain")

Pain, stress, and fibromyalgia (article)

Central sensitization and fibromyalgia (article)

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

Pacing for fibromyalgia

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


Juvenile Arthritis

Pain management for children with juvenile arthritis (

 (See also: Chronic Pain, Central Sensitization)




How to explain tics to kids:  Your brain controls movement through "movement centers" in your brain. These brain areas communicate with each other and with your body using electrical energy. Tics occur when the "movement" parts of your brain get overly excited, and send electrical signals to your body when they doesn't need to. This results in an involuntary movement, or a tic. It does not mean you are broken or that there is anything wrong with you!


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 (

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) 



Anxiety & Stress

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

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)

Time management tips for stress management

Anxiety and stress negatively affect pain: 50 signs and symptoms of stress

Anxiety in Children (AACAP)

School Refusal (ADAA)

Try CBT before meds for insomnia (article)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety: 

Child Mind Institute

Mayo Clinic 



Symptoms of depression in kids and teens (Mayo Clinic)

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

Chronic pain, depression & anxiety in adolescents

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

CBT for depression in kids and teens (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: definition

Biofeedback for headaches

Efficacy of biofeedback for headaches (journal article)

Four apps to relieve tension 

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! (Tonya Palermo)

Melatonin suppression: Why screens disrupt kids' sleep cycles (Scientific American)

App: Relax Melodies (for iPhone + Android)

SEE Guided Audio, below


Screens & Social Media

- A 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, homework, 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.

- Take-home message: 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.

- Article: We need to talk about kids and smartphones (TIME mag)




Books on pain for youths:

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

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

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


Books on pain for parents:

Relieve Your Child’s Chronic Pain, by Elliot Krane

Managing Your Child’s Chronic Pain, by Tonya Palermo and Emily Law

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

Conquering Your Child’s Chronic Pain, by Lonnie Zeltzer


Book list: Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Book list: Sick Kids Learning Institute



**Guided Relaxation Audio**

Relaxation Audio: Guided Meditations, UCLA


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


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


Relaxation Audio: Dawn Buse


Relaxation audio + video: American Chronic Pain Association


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.-