EM1903I "Treating Pain Based on the Underlying Mechanism: Are We There Yet?" (IM GR-032219)

Most practitioners have historically considered chronic pain to be largely from peripheral nociceptive input (i.e. damage or inflammation). If they consider central nervous system involvement in pain, they typically focus entirely on psychological factors. We now understand that non-psychological central nervous system factors can markedly increase (sensitization) or decrease pain sensitivity, in that the CNS is now thought of as “setting the volume control” or gain on pain processing and determining what nociception is felt as pain. The most highly prevalent pain conditions in younger individuals are now thought to be more “central” than “peripheral,” and centralized pain or central sensitization can also be identified in subsets of individuals with any nociceptive or neuropathic pain state. This is not currently appreciated in clinical practice so there is marked overuse of treatments for acute/nociceptive pain (opioids, injections, surgery) for treating centralized pain, and underuse of non-opioid centrally-acting analgesics and non-pharmacological therapies.

Target Audience

UT Southwestern faculty, fellows, residents and medical students, community physicians, nurse clinicians, physician assistants and nurses.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the participant should be able to:

  • Identify the underlying mechanisms responsible for chronic pain.
  • Identify the most effective pharmacological treatments for pain based on mechanism.
  • etermine the optimal manner to incorporate non-pharmacological treatment of pain into clinical practice.
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Daniel J. Clauw, M.D.
Professor of Anesthesiology, Medicine, and Psychiatry
Director, Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center
University of Michigan
Ray A. and Robert L. Kroc Lectureship in Rheumatology

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA


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