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PAIN701 Neurobiology of Pain

The current understanding of the neuropathophysiology of pain, including the concepts of transduction and transmission, nerve physiology, pain modulation, central nervous system changes in pain states, and chronic regional and neuropathic pain states.

Pain science has developed very quickly over the past 20 years. The rapidly developing knowledge of neurobiological systems involved in the human experience of pain is essential to understanding clinical diagnosis and management of painful disorders. This paper follows on from paper MSME 704 Introduction to Pain, which is a prerequisite. It is designed to extend students' understanding of neurobiological systems and processes associated with the human experience of pain, but does not extend into psychological or sociocultural aspects, which are the focus of PAIN 703 Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Pain.

Paper title Neurobiology of Pain
Paper code PAIN701
Subject Pain and Pain Management
EFTS 0.1250
Points 15 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,400.75
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,934.75

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MSMX 704 or MSME 704
PAIX 701
Limited to
MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc, PGDipPhty, MPhty
Appropriately qualified health professionals, including medical practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, osteopaths or physiotherapists
Teaching staff
Dr Jim Borowczyk, with assistance from a variety of other medical specialists
Paper Structure
PAIN 701 consists of eight modules, covering topics that include:
  • Physiology of nociception
  • Anatomy and function of the dorsal horn
  • Nociceptive modulation
  • Tissue-specific nociception
  • Neuropathic pain and associated factors in the nociceptive system
Teaching Arrangements
Material is delivered electronically and is distance taught. There are eight fortnightly online teaching sessions.
There is no single textbook for this paper. Readings will be provided for students to access via the Library, with additional readings and other multimedia material provided via Blackboard. Students can access relevant chapters from Wall and Melzack's Textbook of Pain (2013) 6th Edition, edited by McMahon, Koltzenburg, Tracey & Turk, Published by Elsevier: Philadelphia.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will have developed an in-depth understanding of current scientific progress in pain neurobiology and the impact of these findings on clinical practice and in understanding the human pain experience.

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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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Second Semester

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