Course Overview


This Course will provide an overview of the pathophysiology, types and signs and symptoms of pain, as well as what factors can influence pain, how to assess pain, and how pain differs in older adults and those with cognitive impairment.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use knowledge about the pathophysiology, types, and uniqueness of pain, to facilitate effective pain management
  • Identify barriers that may interfere with effective pain assessment and subsequent treatment
  • Choose the appropriate tool for measuring pain and associated symptoms, to assess and reassess specific patients

Topics include:

  • Definition and pathophysiology of pain
  • Types of pain
  • Signs and symptoms of pain, and factors influencing pain
  • Pain assessment, including pain scales
  • Evaluating pain management

Target audience

All health professionals.


Review underpinning pain concepts and fundamental assessment skills to support effective management of pain experienced by people in your care.


Nearly everyone will experience some type of pain during their life – either acute or chronic. However, pain is a commonly associated with a range of illnesses and co-morbidities; low back pain is the highest contributor to disability in the world, according to the pivotal Global Burden of Disease Study3. In Australia, about 20% of people suffer chronic pain, though the incidence will increase as the population ages.

Health professionals play a key role in the assessment and management of patients' pain. However, studies have shown that pain can be consistently underestimated by health providers and carers, increasing the risk of reduced quality of life for people who suffer pain. Many patients with chronic pain feel disenfranchised and rejected by the ‘medical model’, their families, their work colleagues and the general community. When pain is inadequately managed it can also lead to harmful physical, as well as psychological, consequences for patients and their families or carers.

Understanding basic concepts of pain can facilitate more effective patient-specific pain management interventions. In order to assist patients to meet their treatment goals, regardless of whether the pain is acute or chronic, it is vital that health professionals clearly understand evidenced-based knowledge about pain, and the patient's pain history and experience.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.