What are “red flag” symptoms for those with low back pain? When a patient presents to the office or hospital with low back pain, we are looking for the “red flag” (or VERY concerning symptoms) because it reveals that there is a more ominous cause.
- new inability to urinate,
- progressive loss of strength in the lower legs,
- urinary incontinence,
- a recent invasive spinal procedure,
- progressive sensory loss (of the anus or near genitals),
- history of cancer,
If red flags are ABSENT, the guidelines are to NOT perform an MRI, CT or x rays within the first 6 weeks of onset of back pain. Often back pain resolves spontaneously within 6 weeks, so this is the reason for waiting… unless a “red flag” is present.
I hope this helps.