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Back pain 

Back pain
Chapter:
Back pain
Author(s):

Andrew Neill

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199654093.003.0029
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date: 20 February 2020

This chapter provides a discussion of the challenges facing the emergency physician dealing with a patient presenting with acute back pain. It describes an overview of the range of potential differential diagnoses and the history, examination and investigation profiles required. It focuses on identifying the red flags that require investigation and then the consideration of analgesia and imaging modalities.

It examines the evidence base for three key clinical questions: the use of plain imaging in atraumatic back pain; the consideration of whether there is an analgesia hierarchy; and finally whether MRI can be performed on an urgent outpatient basis.

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