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MSME711 Pain Assessment

Clinical pain assessment in the context of New Zealand society: principles, procedures and physical resources. The economic and health effect of pain on the New Zealand workforce.

Assessing pain, which is a subjective experience, requires clinicians to understand the concepts of pain from a biopsychosocial perspective. This paper provides students with a strong grounding in a range of biomedical, functional and psycho-social strategies for assessing and diagnosing musculoskeletal pain problems. The paper considers pain assessment and diagnosis as an integral part of managing musculoskeletal problems and will enhance student's knowledge and confidence for managing the health problems of people experiencing pain.

Paper title Pain Assessment
Paper code MSME711
Subject Musculoskeletal Medicine
EFTS 0.1250
Points 15 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2019
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,425.25
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,934.75

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Limited to
MHealSc, MPhty, PGCertHealSc, PGCertMSM, PGDipHealSc, PGDipMSM, PGDipPhty
Suitable for appropriately qualified allied health professionals, such as medical practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, osteopaths, physiotherapists, etc.
Teaching staff
Co-ordinator: Dr Bronwyn Lennox Thompson
Paper Structure

MSME 711 consists of eight modules, taught sequentially, using both online resources and fortnightly teaching sessions.

Topics covered in this paper include modules on:

  • Pain assessment introduction and conceptual overview
  • History and interview
  • Imaging and diagnostic approaches to pain
  • Assessment in primary care
  • Disability and physical performance
  • Emerging issues
  • Clinical pain assessment measures
  • Formulation and documentation
Teaching Arrangements
Material is delivered electronically and is distance taught. There are eight fortnightly online teaching sessions.

There is no single textbook that encompasses the material covered in this paper; most will be covered by the readings. A recommended text is:

  • van Griensven, H., Strong, J., & Unruh, AM (2014). Pain: A textbook for health professionals. (2nd Ed.). Churchill Livingstone: London. ISBN10 0702034789
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will have practical and clinically relevant knowledge of approaches to assess pain and the health conditions underlying pain. They will be familiar with evidence-based tools for assessing pain quality, location, intensity, and associated psychosocial constructs important in the human experience of pain. Students will also develop skills in presenting relevant clinical assessment findings in a concise report format to medicolegal standards.

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Further Information

Administrator Client Services
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel 64 3 364 1086

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Not offered in 2019

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system