CSPH 5303 - Pain Management and Evidence Based Complementary Health Approaches


This course is offered completely online. 


Course Description:

This course will provide an overview of complementary and integrative healing practices for pain management. In the US, chronic pain impacts over one third of the population and affects more individuals than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. While there is a wide range of conventional medical treatments available to manage pain, many are only marginally effective and are associated with troublesome side effects. Of growing concerns is the endemic problem of opioids associated with misuse, addiction, and fatal overdose. Pain sufferers and health providers need effective and safe options for pain management.

Some complementary and integrative healing (CIH) approaches have a growing evidence base to support their use, particularly for pain management. This course will introduce students to the theories, mechanisms, use, effectiveness, and safety of commonly used complementary and integrative healing practices. The relationship of CIH approaches to contemporary views and research regarding pain, health and healing, and placebo effects will also be explored. Through reading, reflection, discussion, and critical appraisal, students will develop the necessary skills to synthesize different forms of information, including research, to reach evidence-informed and balanced conclusions regarding CIH for managing pain, restoring function, and enhancing overall health and wellbeing. CIH approaches covered will include: whole systems (Traditional Chinese Medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, Ayurvedic Medicine, etc.); mind-body practices (contemplative and meditative practices; yoga, tai chi, Qigong, etc.); manipulative and body-based approaches (massage therapy, acupuncture, manipulation); and energy-based approaches (energy medicine, Reiki, therapeutic touch, healing touch). Upon completion of the course, students will have a foundational knowledge of CIH for pain management and the skills to critically appraise and determine the trustworthiness of different information sources.

Course Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

    • Describe the theories and mechanisms of action of different CIH approaches related to pain.

    • Describe the use of CIH approaches to pain in the U.S. population and reasons for their popularity.

    • Search for and identify trustworthy sources of information regarding CIH.

    • Critically appraise different types of research regarding CIH effectiveness and safety for pain management.

    • Synthesize different types of information to make evidence informed decisions regarding CIH for pain management.

Course Details

Course ID: 
CSPH 5303
Graduate Students, Undergraduate students with junior status or above, or instructor consent. Permission number required for registration.
Semesters Course Offered: 
Course Flyer: 
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