Avoid Imaging for Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain (LBP) is one of the most common reasons for an outpatient visit. Keep in mind that an X-ray to help diagnose and treat this issue is not recommended until at least six weeks after the onset of the pain. Performing an X-ray does not improve outcomes and could expose the patient to unnecessary radiation and costs. The evaluation for LBP should include a complete, focused medical history that looks for red flags, including, but not limited to, neurological deficits, fever, trauma and underlying conditions. It is also important to rule out any nonspinal causes before determining a treatment plan.