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Pain Basics for Health Professionals

Pain is a dominant complaint in current health care practice. What can you do to help these people in the future?

How is possible that patients feel pain in a limb that doesn’t exist? (what is phantom-limb pain?) How can fake medicaments ease pain? (how does the placebo-effect work?) Why suffer patients from excruciating pain for no apparent reason whatsoever? (what are the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying pain?)

Pain is the primary reason for which patients visit health care professionals. Pain can be a consequence of a serious disease like – for example – cancer, an operation, or a physical trauma, but can sometimes be apparent for no objective reason whatsoever.

During the last decade our knowledge about the underlying neurophysiologic processes of pain and the psychosocial factors that modulate the pain experience has increased substantially. Based on this knowledge we have expanded our diagnostic and therapeutic toolboxes and can we do more for patients suffering from different forms of pain.


The main goal of this minor is: At the end of the minor students have advanced knowledge about the multidimensional character of pain and pain research which they can apply within a large diversity of current practical issues in the field of interprofessional healthcare


The minor is interprofessional and is therefore accessible for students from the study of physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, midwifery, speech therapy and other healthcare professionals.


The minor contains two examinations:

1. Knowledge (minorproduct 1 and 2)
  • Theoretical exam about the pain basics and current body of knowledge on pain. Covers the knowledge conducted from the lectures and seminars in quarter one of the minor (10 ECTS) 
  • Writing an essay about the practical implications of the current body of knowledge on pain. Students choose a specific topic out of the themes and topics during quarter two of the minor (4 ECTS). This individual assignment aims to deepen the knowledge about pain basics based on one specific theme/topic, for example:
    • physical therapy/nursing/occupational/midwifery sciences
    • multidisciplinary rehabilitation
    • psychology/ sociology sciences
    • musculoskeletal/post-operative/oncology pain
2. Project (minorproduct 3, 4 and 5)

Project based on a question from health care practices conducted in a small group of students. Question will be formulated in cooperation of the lectorate ‘moving towards health’. Questions are about the quality of care for patients with pain. The project contains the following parts:

  • Project set-up: the proposal of the project presented at the end of quarter one (4 ECTS)
  • Project product: the final product of the project-research conducted during quarter one and two (10 ECTS)
  • Poster-presentation: presentation of the project-research ( 2 ECTS)