Christine Chambers

Patient Leader

I am a clinical psychologist, Canada Research Chair in Pain and Child Health, and Professor based in the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. For the last 20 years I've been studying pain in children. We have certainly come a long way since the 1970s and 80s when it comes to understanding, assessing, and managing pain in children. Back then it was believed that children, particularly infants and preterm neonates, were too neurologically immature to feel pain. These children often underwent painful surgeries and invasive procedures with the simple use of paralytics, rather than proper analgesia and anesthesia. Looking back, it is hard to fathom how this could have ever been acceptable. But today, our failure to offer and provide children with evidence-based pain management interventions for common procedures, such as immunizations, illustrates the amount of work we still have left to improve the current state of pain management in children. It is frustrating to observe the huge discrepancy between the quantity and quality of the research evidence that supports these interventions and the striking lack of uptake by health care professionals and the general public to use them. Why is it that most parents are generally unaware that they can use simple strategies like distraction and deep breathing to significantly reduce immunization pain in their children? Why is it that they don’t know that they can use a topical anesthetic cream, applied about an hour before the procedure, to significantly reduce pain? I am a pain psychologist and my husband is an anesthesiologist. We know what proper evidence-based pain care is, and even we have had to demand it for our four children (sometimes in the very institution I work in). But not every child is as fortunate as mine are, to have pain experts as parents who know enough to demand and expect the best pain care for their children. I am proud to be a scientist and health advocate so that we can all work together for better pain management for children. Our recent YouTube video for parents ("It Doesn't Have to Hurt": is just one example of my advocacy efforts in the area. Please help us share the message about pain management in children with others!


Best in Show: YouTube Best in Show: Twitter

Christine is a leading pediatric pain clinician researcher who created a fabulous, funny You Tube video, It doesn't have to hurt The video helps parents understand simple easy things they can do to make needles less painful for their kids. She is determined not only to figure out what works- which she has in dozens of clever studies- but also to make it easy for parents to apply these methods in their children's healthcare.  — Patrick

As a parent myself, I know that no one likes taking their child for a needle. There is a new YouTube video however, showing parents the simple things that they can do to make that experience less painful. Dr. Christine Chambers, a clinical psychologist, professor, and researcher, has spent the last 20 years studying pain in children and questions why, despite numerous proven interventions, fewer than 5% of children get any pain relief for needles? Frustrated with the discrepancy between the research and the lack of public uptake, she wanted to empower parents to advocate for their children. Leading a multidisciplinary team she created a short video ( to let parents know that getting a needle doesn’t have to hurt! The video was released in Nov. 2013 and has had excellent feedback from both parents and health care professionals. It has been featured on several popular parenting blogs and shared by many high-profile organizations (e.g., AAP, CDC, NCIRD, CIHR).  — Jennifer

Dr. Christine Chambers, a clinical psychologist, Professor, & CRC in Children’s Pain at Dalhousie, is partnering with scientists, parents, & organizations to increase parents’ awareness & use of evidence-based pain management strategies for children. Social media is being used to engage parents via #ItDoesntHavetoHurt & #KidsCancerPain campaigns.  — Justine

Christine Chambers

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