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Pain Education Theory & Practice

Pain Education Theory & Practice

Pain Education Theory & Practice

This course includes
3:31:22 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion


Maladaptive beliefs and thoughts about pain are substantial barriers to recovery. Pain education can address the maladaptive thoughts by providing current and relevant science. It needs to be specifically targeted to individual patients' needs and levels of understanding. Thus appropriate education is a core intervention for changing pain and quality of life. With a better understanding of why their body hurts, a patient is more likely to be more compliant with other aspects of treatment, for example, an exercise or walking program, or the gradual reintroduction of increased function. 

Important gaps in knowledge exist in the process of pain education and the adult learning principles behind it.  Education is now recognized as an important intervention for people with complex and persistent pain. This online physiotherapy course embodies evidence-based practice.

Part 1: Introduction to Pain Education Theory

In part one of this online physiotherapy course the learners will be provided with an introduction to pain education theory. Physiotherapist and PhD Geoff Bostick provides an online and self-paced lecture which includes:

  • Foundations of pain education and how to integrate it into your practice
  • Principals and processes of pain education
  • Neurophysiology of pain education
  • Up to date literature  
  • The effects of pain education
  • Strategic initial assessments and discrete intervention methods
  • The philosophy and theory of adult learning
  • How to facilitate transformative learning in your patients 
  • Educational resources to provide your patients with

Part 2: Clinical Stories with Debbie Patterson

In this section, we are honored to share a stimulating conversation with Debbie Patterson, a founding member of the Pain Science Division of the CPA, who has over 35 years of clinical experience in the world of persistent pain. We will explore her wealth of clinical stories that are packed full of valuable learning lessons.

Debby discusses how we must break up the myths of pain in today's society and how pain education is no longer a choice, it is necessary for all patients. She reflects on strategies she has used to balance the therapeutic alliance with pain education and how to skillfully integrate her practices into your patient interactions.

As you will come to learn in this course pain is a personal and idiosyncratic experience. Following the completion of Part 2 you will be able to determine what information from the assessment you can use to tailor your pain education strategies and personalized message.

Part 3: A Patient Story

Listen to the reflection of one of Debby's patients as he describes his journey dealing with persistent pain. The patient has kindly offered to share his story with the course's attendees to give learners first hand insight into his experience. 

In this interview, Debbie and her patient discuss how he eventually found his way to her practice and many of the strategies they used to help improve both his pain and quality of life. This is an extremely impactful session that you won't want to miss. 


Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this online course, participants will be able to:

  1.  Summarize the current evidence for pain education
  2. Apply key principles in pain education in their clinical practice
  3. Be familiar with basic concepts of adult learning related to philosophy and theory and their relevance to pain education
  4. Be familiar with barriers and facilitators for effective pain education
  5. Increase their skills in providing pain education by hearing both relevant clinical experiences and a patient’s perspective.



Any clinician who is treating pain will benefit from this 3-part course because it provides science, clinical anecdotes, and a patient perspective that will enable the therapist to more effectively integrate pain education into their practice.

Join the Canadian Physiotherapy Association for this online course 'Pain Education Theory & Practice'. For more information about the CPA-Embodia partnership, please visit this page.

The instructors
Pain Science Division

The Pain Science Division is a special interest group of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association that serves physiotherapists who have an interest in better understanding and managing pain and in connecting with likeminded clinicians, educators and researchers. The mission of the Pain Science Division is to: Foster connections and collaborations between clinicians, educators and researchers interested in pain and physiotherapy, facilitate the bidirectional translation of knowledge between pain research and clinical practice and integrate the professional interests of Canadian physiotherapists within national and international pain networks.

The PSD wants to help advance the level of pain education across the country. Pain is a multi-faceted and complex experience that warrants careful consideration and reflection by both entry-level students and experienced clinicians. Our goal is to address this issue from a multi-pronged perspective. In addition to providing clinicians with opportunities for professional development we also want to be in close communication with university-level educators and clinical specialization regulators. 

Canadian Physiotherapy Association

As the vital partner for the profession, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) leads, advocates, and inspires excellence and innovation to promote health. CPA’s goal is to provide exceptional service, valuable information and connections to the profession of physiotherapy, across Canada and around the world.

Debbie Patterson
Registered Physiotherapist

Debbie Patterson is an orthopaedic physiotherapist with a special interest in the treatment of persistent pain. Early in her career she recognized that the medical model of physiotherapy treatment often failed people with persistent pain. This led her on a career path of learning about the current science of pain, and searching for clinical relevance in the treatment of pain.

Debbie Patterson is a registered physiotherapist in the provinces of Ontario and Alberta. She is a founding member of the Pain Science Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Debbie has a clinical practice treating people whose lives are affected by persistent and complex pain conditions. She has worked within the Biopsychosocial model of pain for over 35 years. She sees herself as a physiotherapy coach to help patients relieve suffering, pain and distress and improve their quality of life.

Debbie has used Telerehab to assess and treat patients for over 10 years. She is a trained and certified Progressive Goal Attainment Programme (PGAP) clinician and is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Debbie has a passion for teaching patients and health care providers about the science of pain in the Biopsychosocial model. She has taught courses in pain science and appropriate assessment and treatment approaches. Now she provides live and recorded webinars. She also mentors other physiotherapists in developing their knowledge and skills to better meet the needs of their patients with persistent pain.

Geoff Bostick

Geoff obtained his BScPT from the University of Saskatchewan in 2001. He then worked in private practice in Saskatoon, Edmonton and Victoria. In 2005, he completed the Diploma of Advanced Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy. By 2006, Geoff had developed a fervent interest for pain sciences; particularly the cognitive and social aspects of pain. He then began his PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Alberta, completing the program in 2011. Currently, Geoff works as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta (U of A) in the Department of Physical Therapy (PT). He teaches primarily in the orthopaedic portion of the program, but incorporates as much pain education as possible into other courses in the MScPT program. His research interests include neuropathic pain in OA, cognitive factors in chronic pain and various teaching-related initiatives. He also runs a student-led physiotherapy clinic within the Department of Physiotherapy at the U of A, and a modest not-for-profit PT pain program in conjunction with the U of A Multidisciplinary Pain Centre.

Geoff’s current role with the Pain Science Division is the Division Research Representative Committee (DRRC) representative, promoting pain-related research to its members. He is also co-chair of DRRC. The DRRC rep is broadly charged with promoting pain-related research to its members. Geoff is particularly excited about a new initiative called Paincasts – short podcasts discussing pain with some bright people.

Course Material included in this course
  • The Process of Pain Education
  • Initial Assessment
  • Discrete Intervention Methods
  • Feedback
  • Key Messages
  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Feedback
  • Adult Learning
  • Philosophy
  • Theory
  • Feedback
  • Conclusion of Part 1
  • Resources
  • Part 1 Quiz
  • Part 2: Conversation with Debbie Patterson
  • Information Delivery
  • Limitations and Acquiring Knowledge
  • Clues
  • Tailoring the Message
  • Examples of Difficult Discussions
  • Key Principles
  • Concluding Thoughts
  • Part 2 Quiz
  • Feedback
  • Part 3: Patient Interview
  • Introductions
  • Past Experience
  • Learning Tools
  • Experiential Learning
  • Psychology
  • On Being Fixed
  • Final Words of Advice
  • A Special Offer For Completing This Course
  • Feedback
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