Module A: Pathophysiology of Pain

CE Credits: 1.3


This module explores the insidious ways that pain affects patients and how pain ranks as one of the most frequent causes of suffering and disability. It details the risk factors and economic effects of pain, and explains the differences between acute and chronic or persistent pain, and the process by which different kinds of pain (aches, versus stabbing pain) are transmitted through the nervous system. It also covers pain assessment tools (such as the PQRST and the Numeric Pain Intensity methods), and details the different kinds of analgesic regimens for pain. Finally, the module looks at the psychosocial factors in pain—such as the cultural obstacles some patients may feel about treating pain, and the perhaps unwitting stereotypes that make it difficult for some patients to get treated for their pain.

Learning objectives: After completing this module the case manager will be able to:
» Discuss the prevalence and the economic effect of unrelieved pain
» Describe how pain is transmitted and the difference between the peripheral and central nervous system in pain transmission
» Determine the elements of a pain assessment and the use of various pain assessment tools
» Describe analgesic regimens using opioids, non-opioid medications, and adjunct medications to control pain
» Discuss psychological, spiritual and cultural influences and disparities in pain management

Advance your professional practice:: Because assessing pain is subjective, and relies so much on the patient’s ability to report it, we case managers can benefit from understanding how pain works and how to draw out the best information from patients. When we can zero in on the specifics of a patient’s pain, we can identify the most effective treatment.


Improve organizational performance: Pain is a major component of many acute and chronic health issues, and can complicate a healthcare team’s assessment and treatment of a patient’s illness. When we can recognize and assess a patient’s pain effectively, we can streamline overall treatment, resulting in better outcomes and more efficient service.