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PAIN713 Pain Neurobiology

The current understanding of pain mechanisms, including nerve physiology, modulation, central nervous system changes in pain states, and chronic pain states with implications for treatment mechanisms.

Pain science has, and is, developing very quickly. Understanding the neurobiological systems involved in the human experience of pain  assists with clinical diagnosis, management of painful disorders and knowing how to explain neurobiological information in the clinical context. This paper follows on from paper MSME 704 Introduction to Pain. It will extend students' understanding of neurobiological anatomy and physiological processes, including applicable clinical pain conditions.

Paper title Pain Neurobiology
Paper code PAIN713
Subject Pain and Pain Management
EFTS 0.1250
Points 15 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,509.38
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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MSME 704 or PAIN 710
PAIN 701
Limited to
MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc, PGDipPhty, MPhty

Appropriately qualified health professionals, including medical practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, osteopaths or physiotherapists.


Administrator Client Services
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 378 6161 

Teaching staff

Paper Coordinator: Dr Iain Bell

Paper Structure

PAIN713 consists of eight modules, covering topics that include:

  • Physiology of nociception
  • Anatomy and function of the dorsal horn
  • Pain modulation
  • Tissue-specific nociception
  • Neuropathic pain and associated factors in the nociceptive system
  • Nociplastic pain, pain vulnerability and persistent pain conditions
Teaching Arrangements

This Distance Learning paper is taught remotely.

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.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
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 understanding in the area of human pain experience.

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Semester 2

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