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EFIC Pain School on Musculoskeletal Pain

General information

27th – 30th March 2023
Comwell Rebild Bakker, Skørping, Aalborg, Denmark

Course Directors: Thomas Graven-Nielsen, Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain (CNAP), Aalborg University, Denmark

Focus of this EFIC Pain School:

This inter-professional pain school will focus on chronic musculoskeletal pain. The program aligns with EFIC curricula for medicine, physiotherapy, psychology and nursing. All lectures will link directly to these, and the program strives to cover aspects that are not already covered by the EFIC Academy online education platform and includes practical sessions, demonstrations, discussions, and lectures. We have deliberately set the faculty to reflect a high profile on musculoskeletal pain and a very diverse inter-professional profile to increase networking between participants and faculty. The faculty are expected to contribute throughout the school with lectures, discussions, and demonstrations.

Main Topics:

  • Musculoskeletal pain and the lived experience
  • Theory and pain education
  • Psychological aspects and communication
  • Pharmacotherapy and non-pharmacological interventions for chronic primary musculoskeletal pain

Examples of lectures/workshops/demo:

  • Theories and concepts used in the clinic to understand chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Mechanisms and basic research approaches to understand chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Exercise for pain; from bench to bedside and clinical recommendations
  • Exercise; it’s role on health, function, and mood
  • Current psychological concepts and approaches to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Novel strategies for chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain across the lifespan


Discussion themes (debates)

  • Should patients exercise if it hurts? Balancing health and the “exercise-panacea”
  • How many side effects/risks of adverse events are acceptable? Balancing “no intervention” with “treatment-despite-side-effects” and balancing adverse events with effect sizes
  • Is central sensitisation a thing in musculoskeletal pain and does nociplastic pain have clinical implications?
  • Risk factors for chronic pain: Trait or state dependent? Can they be modified by management?
  • Novel strategies for research and their potential role for management of chronic MSK pain
  • Interventional strategies for chronic MSK pain (recommendations for and against)

Morten Hoegh (PT), Thorvaldur Skuli Palsson (PT), Janus Laust Thomsen (MD, GP), Lene Dreyer (MD, Rheumatologist), Tonny Elmose (Psy) and Henrik Vaegter (PT), Thomas Graven-Nielsen (Neuroscience),

Guest Speakers:
Jan Hartvigsen (DC, epidemiologist), Lotte Heise (patient advocate, author, radio host), Nanna Finnerup (MD, neurologist), Michael Rathleff (PT), Lance McCracken (Psy), Eija Kalso (MD), Megan McPhee (PT)

Target Audience
  • The school can take 40 participants. Applicants from different professions will be encouraged to apply. To ensure this, the 30 seats will be designated by profession (6 for MD, Psy, PT, RN and other, respectively). Once the designated “seats” are reserved, a waiting list will be created.
  • The school is useful for participants who wish to prepare for the EFIC exams for medicine, physiotherapy, nursing or psychology.


  • All participants are expected to have at least one year of experience working with chronic musculoskeletal pain or at least three years of post-graduate, clinical practice experience
  • All participants are expected to be familiar with basic terminology related to pain research and research methods
  • To the extent possible, all participants are expected to actively participate in all activities (lectures, discussions and social events)
  • All participants are asked to bring a short case description (to be presented verbally in small groups) of a patient that presents with complaints, stories, expectations etc., which the participant feels as a challenge or that the participant feels would benefit their own professional development
Learning Outcomes
  • Understand theories, evidence and practice related to patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Understand the role of the therapist and the therapeutic-alliance in the person-centred approach to pain management
  • Experience how different professionals (MD, PT, Psy, RN etc.) can contribute to and support each other in the management of complex musculoskeletal pain conditions
How to apply

Application for this Pain School is now closed. Candidates will be notified in early January 2023 at the latest.

  • Candidates should apply via EFIC centrally.
  • The deadline for application is 1 December 2022.
  • EFIC offer 10 places for this Pain School free of charge via a grant. For the chosen 10 applicants, all teaching and related activities are provided for free, along with accommodation and meals. The only significant cost these applicants should expect to pay is their travel.
  • The remaining 30 places will be self-funded, with a fee payable to the Pain School organisers of 995 euros. Once the EFIC-funded places are offered, the remaining 30 self-funded places will be offered to the strongest candidates.
  • All applications are evaluated by the European Pain Federation EFIC® Committee on Education and approved by the Executive Board.