September 3, 2004
Acute Low Back Pain – update August 24, 2004
By Howell Johnson, M.D., Associate Medical Director
Acute low back pain (duration of less than three months) with or without radiculopathy is one of the most common health problems. Uncomplicated acute low back pain is a benign, self-limited condition that does not warrant imaging studies. The vast majority of these patients are back to their usual activities in 30 days.
Plain film x-rays prior to certain treatment such as epidural injections or manual manipulations may be indicated.
Indications of a more complicated status are often termed “red flags.” Imaging studies are considered medically necessary for acute low back pain when any of the following red flags are present:
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