Elearning Modules


Pathophysiology of Headache


College of Medicine

Document Type

Instructional Material

Publication Date



The purpose of this module is to enable students to understand important basic concepts about headache. The module is divided into three parts which include: the anatomy of pain pathways, classification of headache, and the pathophysiology of migraine.

The target learners for the module are second year medical students in the Neurology core, but this module can be used as a free standing tutorial by learners at any level of training or practice.

The module is designed for individual learning but sections of the module can also be used in the classroom to focus on important concepts and demonstrate anatomical pathways and the pathophysiology of migraine. There are 10 concept sections and three quizzes throughout the module. The quizzes are six to eight questions each and are designed to help the student understand the concepts. The student must answer each question correctly to be considered competent and to progress to the next part of the module. The total module is 15 minutes long; not including the time spent taking the quizzes. The module is designed to enhance the understanding and retention of the concepts presented. The module is developed in FLASH animation and visually demonstrates the concepts discussed. Besides sequential progression there is also a menu bar that allows the learner to select and review any section.

Technical features of the module include the options for part and full screen viewing, close caption, and a pause and start button. The module is designed to be an open access Internet site.

The inaugural use of the tutorial will be 2015 as part of the MS II Neurology, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry core. Traditionally, the students have attended a lecture on Headache. This year the students will be required to view the module prior to class. Class time will then be spent not in a lecture but as an interactive session focusing on thinking with and building on the concepts they have learned from the module to solve clinical cases. There will be a combination of written case scenarios, patient cases on video and a live patient. This process is designed for retention as the students actively apply what they have learned.


The illustration used in section 9 of this module is modified with permission from the Annual Review of Physiology, Volume 75, Pg. 375, (c)2013 by Annual Reviews, http://www.annualreviews.org.