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 


How the body 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

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

The role of psychology in pain: Stanford (video) - Dr. Beth Darnall



What is pain? - Lorimer Moseley

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

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) 

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)

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) 

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

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 (

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

Understanding Pain (5 min video)

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)

Normalizing depressed mood in headache patients: Of course your mood is low, you're constantly in 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)



 Stomachache & GI Issues

The gut-brain connection (Harvard)

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

GI and serotonin (CalTech)

Relationship between GI distress and depression/anxiety (Molecular Psychiatry)

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

How to help children return to school after 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)



Functional Neurologic Disorder

(FND = Conversion Disorder)

Mayo Clinic: causes, symptoms, treatment 

Brain-Body Connection: Somatization (Kelty brochure)

Kelty: understanding FND, Conversion, and Somatization Disorders




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, Sensitization)




How to explain tics to kids:  Tics occur when excess electrical energy is released in the "movement centers" of your brain. The brain then sends electrical signals to your body telling it to move when it doesn't need to. This results in an involuntary movement, or a tic. It does not mean you are broken! It's just some extra energy, like when you feel excited or bouncy.

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) 



Mindfulness for Pain

Mindfulness for managing chronic pain (PsychCentral)

MBSR and Kabat-Zinn: How mindfulness changes the experience of pain in the brain  

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

Alternatives to drugs for treating pain (NY Times)

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



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)



Psych Meds May Do More Harm Than Good in Children

(Try CBT first... no side effects!)

Antidepressants don't work on kids (STAT)

Antidepressants ineffective & possibly dangerous for youths (The Lancet journal)

Teen antidepressants doing more harm than good (BBC News)

Med trials funded by pharm companies not trustworthy (Harvard)

Psych meds no better than placebo (British Medical Journal)




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

  • What screens do to kids' brains (summary)
  • 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.
  • 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 youth:

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

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

When Your Child Hurts, by R. Coakley


Book list: Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario


Compilation of resources for parents: ChildKind 



**Guided Audio** 

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


Relaxation Audio: Palermo, 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.-