Behavioral Pain Management Research

Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD, directs the Behavioral Pain Management Research Laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s. The research team is composed of behavioral medicine faculty, fellows, residents and research assistants who are interested in the field of pediatric pain management.

The focus of our lab is to study:

  • Chronic pain in children and adolescents
  • The best ways to assess pediatric pain
  • The impact of pain on physical and psychosocial functioning
  • How children cope with pain
  • How to develop evidence-based treatments for chronic pain  
  • How to disseminate evidence-based treatments using quality-improvement methods 

Current research projects include:

  • Assessing psychological coping skills, physical activity, movement biomechanics and fitness in teenagers with fibromyalgia
  • Development of an online daily diary application to monitor pain, sleep, physical activity and fatigue in children and adolescents with chronic pain
  • A clinical trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and neuromuscular training to help improve fitness, coping, and reduce pain symptoms for teenagers with juvenile fibromyalgia syndrome 
  • A longitudinal follow-up study of adolescents with juvenile fibromyalgia to assess their outcomes in young adulthood 
  • Development and validation of subjective measures of pain and pain behavior in children and adolescents 
  • An experimental study designed to measure sensitivity to mechanical pressure in patients with juvenile fibromyalgia syndrome compared to healthy teenagers
  • A study testing whether the new American College of Rheumatology (2010) guidelines for classification of adult fibromyalgia can be used in pediatric patients with fibromyalgia

Students, residents and fellows receive training in implementing large funded research studies, scientific writing, conducting critical reviews of the literature, statistical analysis, presentation skills and grant preparation. Residents and fellows also receive training in behavioral pain management therapies including biofeedback and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Research projects are multidisciplinary and lab members collaborate closely with investigators in the Divisions of Rheumatology, Pain Management, Sports Medicine and the Headache Center