Over the past few decades, there have been fundamental changes in the understanding and treatment of acute and chronic pain. Medical assistants and nurses are often the first point of contact for patients with acute and chronic pain. Contemporary knowledge and understanding of acute and chronic pain are therefore essential for successful therapy and effective interdisciplinary teamwork.

Until a few years ago, pain was viewed almost exclusively as a result of tissue damage, both in the general population among those affected and in training for medical assistant professions. Pain was viewed as a symptom that hardly required specific attention. So should e.g. B. Pain medication should only be used as needed and only when the patient urgently asks. Pain as a result of tissue damage is relevant to the treatment of acute pain. However, when it comes to chronic pain, this view shortens the understanding of its origins and treatment. In acute pain, the pain should be a guide to the possible cause and motivate treatment. It usually only lasts for a short time and can often be treated causally.

Chronic pain, on the other hand, can usually not be traced back to a single cause. It is also not a primary accompanying symptom of another illness. Chronic pain is usually the disease itself; it has developed into an independent disease that also needs to be treated specifically. Serious mistakes can be made with traditional ideas about pain, which perpetuate the pain and cause it to become more chronic. Medical assistant professions in particular can provide essential positive support for treatment. Patients must learn at an early stage to develop an understanding of chronic pain, to manage the pain and to find ways to re-plan their lives with the functional limitations, the pain and the disease. Many prejudices that arise regarding the treatment of pain can, if there is a lack of knowledge, contribute to the worsening and further consolidation of the pain. Learning experiences, knowledge, information, feelings and evaluations as well as expectations influence the pain experience. Pain is also modified by motor and autonomic mechanisms. The evaluation of the social environment can also significantly influence and sustain the experience of pain.

A pronounced reduction in quality of life, ability to work and social withdrawal quickly join chronic pain as accompanying symptoms and functional limitations. Misuse of medication, psychological concomitant illnesses that maintain pain, and physical illnesses that make pain therapy more difficult also occur. The patients suffer from sleep disorders, sensitization, personality changes, complex physical symptoms, low mood, irritability as well as changes in interests and the ability to experience things which complicate the clinical picture.

All of these symptoms must be addressed in care and, as a rule, intensively attended to by an interdisciplinary team during treatment. In the past, these aspects did not play a central role in the classic training of medical assistant professions. However, they are part of everyday life in the care of patients with chronic pain, especially in specialized pain centers. It is therefore important that medical assistants, nurses and nursing staff in particular keep up with the latest knowledge. The “Specialized Pain Management” curriculum for MFA/physician assistants and nurses aims to make this knowledge available for care and everyday life. The medical basics as well as the behavioral medical and psychological aspects of chronic pain should be taught across disciplines.


The curriculum will include, among others, the following subject areas:

  • Definition and classification of pain
  • Classification of headaches and facial pain
  • Physiology of pain
  • Psychology of pain
  • Social aspects of chronic pain
  • Diagnostics in pain therapy
  • Pain measurement and pain analysis
  • Primary headache
  • Secondary headaches
  • Back pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Pain in children
  • Pain in old age
  • Interdisciplinary therapy for chronic pain
  • Drug pain therapy
  • Neuromodulation
  • Medication addiction and medication misuse
  • The treatment of comorbid chronic pain
  • Psychological procedures in pain therapy
  • Forms of organization in outpatient and inpatient pain therapy

The 90-hour curriculum is delivered part-time every week on Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Starts September 7, 2017

Location: Kiel Pain Clinic, Heikendorfer Weg 9-27, 24149 Kiel

https:// pain clinic.de

Registration: fromm@weckklinik.de

The participation fees are 750 euros. Scholarships can be awarded by the Migraine and Headache Foundation upon application.

The course ends with an exam and a certificate.