“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.