State of the art in biobehavioral approaches to the management of chronic pain in childhood

Pain Manag. 2016;6(1):49-61. doi: 10.2217/pmt.15.59. Epub 2015 Dec 17.


Chronic pain in childhood is prevalent, persistent and significantly impactful on most domains of life. The chronic pain experience occurs within a complex biopsychosocial framework, with particular emphasis on the social context. Currently, psychological treatments involve a cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment plan, providing some combination of psychoeducation, self-regulation training, maladaptive cognition identification, behavioral exposure and parent involvement. New treatment areas are emerging, such as group- and internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, comorbid obesity intervention and intensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation. Preliminary studies of emerging treatments demonstrate encouraging results; however, treatment effectiveness hinges on accurate matching of patient to treatment modality. Overall, the current direction of the field promises many innovative breakthroughs to ameliorate suffering in youth with chronic pain.

Keywords: CBT; biopsychosocial; distress; emerging treatments; evidence-based; exposure; multidisciplinary; parents; tailored; youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Behavior Therapy / trends
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome