The red flags of back pain

flickr.com/ photos/ jenwaller/ 1796878810

flickr.com/ photos/ jenwaller/ 1796878810

“Red flags” is a term that we physicians use that causes us to ACT.  Frequently back pain will resolve within 2 weeks with conservative management (like rest, ice, over-the-counter pain medicine).  These red flags will be followed up with thorough physical exam and testing.

  • Older than 70 years of age
  • Neurologic problems with progressive or disabling symptoms
  • Patient with a history of immunosuppression
  • Prolonged use of steroids or known osteoporosis
  • Loss of control of bladder or bowel functions
  • Unexplained fever
  • Night pain
  • History of cancer or high suspicion of cancer
  • Intravenous drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Recent trauma in patients older than 50
  • Unexplained weight loss.

See your doctor if your back pain does not go away. . . or immediately if you are having any of these red flags.

Hope this helps.

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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