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    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.

    Understanding pain neurobiology and other physiological systems involved in the human experience of pain helps with diagnosis, managing painful disorders and explaining aspects of pain in the clinic. This paper will extend students' understanding of pain neurobiology as it applies to clinical presentations and informs treatment.

    About this paper

    Paper title Pain Neurobiology
    Subject Pain and Pain Management
    EFTS 0.1250
    Points 15 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,551.63
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    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 21 279 1423 

    Teaching staff

    Paper Coordinator: Dr Bronwyn Lennox Thompson

    Paper Structure

    PAIN 713 consists of eight modules, covering topics that include:

    • Review of nociception and fundamental neurobiological processes
    • Complex regional pain syndrome
    • Post-surgical pain
    • Neurobiology of nonpharmacological therapies in pain
    • Visceral (pelvic) pain
    • Nociplastic pain mechanisms
    • “Top down” cortical and descending processes
    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.


    Semester 2

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