Assessing Back Pain: Red Flags, Imaging Guidelines, Specific Diagnoses

Assessing Back Pain- red flags, imaging guidelines, specific diagnoses


Acute low back pain (LBP) is primarily managed in general practice. However, literature indicates that care provided by GPs does not always align with best practice recommendations, is not always evidence-based and is not likely to provide the best outcomes.
Success in the assessment of acute and chronic back pain presentations relies on effective history taking, coupled with a careful and structured clinical examination. This includes provocative tests and neurological examination where indicated. An effective clinical assessment precludes the need for unnecessary imaging in many instances.
This activity provides an overview of pain and an update for GPs on the assessment, imaging guidelines, and specific diagnoses for lower back pain.


  1. List the three broad categories of lower back pain
  2. Cite examples of red flags for lower back pain
  3. Explain why routine imaging is unhelpful in lower back pain
  4. Describe the appropriate use of the STarT Back or PICKUP risk prediction tools for development of chronic (persistent) pain
Assessing Back Pain- red flags, imaging guidelines, specific diagnoses
  • Presenter(s):John Moi
  • Host:The Royal Melbourne Hospital / NWMPHN
  • Duration:58.20 min
  • Activity ID:134513
  • QI&CPD Points:2
  • Provider:Lateral Connections

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