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What you need to know about Chronic Pain.

What you need to know about Chronic Pain An Interview with Dr. Rachel Zoffness, Psychologist and Pain Specialist.

Chronic Pain is a BioPsychoSocial Disorder.

Dr. Lisa had the pleasure of interviewing one of her “old” trainees from New York’s St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, Dr. Rachel Zoffness.

Dr. Zoffness is leading the field of chronic pain especially in kids/teens, but she also works with adults. She is based out of the Bay Area in California.

Please watch the video for the entire interview and see the bullet points below for the summary.

Link to Dr. Zoffness’ website:
Link to her work book
Take home bullets:
– 100% of humans experience pain
– Pain is always physical AND emotional, no disconnect between brain and body
– Pain is biopsychosocial, not purely biomedical
– Treating only the biomedical piece (with meds, procedures, etc) ignores 2/3 of the model
– Framing pain as biomedical has helped cause the current opiate epidemic. Pain has historically been treated primarily with pills, including opiates; however, we know long-term opiate use actually sensitizes the brain to pain rather than reduces it.
– Research shows that opiates are *not* indicated for chronic pain (> 3 months), although they are helpful for acute, short-term pain (< 3 months, e.g. post-surgical pain, acute injuries, etc)
– Acute pain is an important warning message signalling danger of harm, telling you to change your behavior so that your body stays safe
– Chronic pain is a false alarm, indicating “hurt” even when there’s no danger, damage or harm to your body
– Evidence-based methods of breaking this cycle include approaches that integrate both a biomedical and psychosocial perspective. Psychosocial pain interventions with scientific evidence include CBT, MBSR, biofeedback, and Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE)
– Workbook outlining how to explain pain to patients, and offering the full CBT- and mindfulness-based treatment protocol: Chronic Pain and Illness Workbook for Teens (adult workbook in progress!)

dr rachel zoffness


Dr. Rachel Zoffness is a clinical Psychologist and Pain Specialist in the Bay Area, California.

To learn more about Dr. Zoffness, visit her website

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