The RCGP - Clinical and Special Projects, Clinical Guidelines, Acute Low Back Pain. Contents, Index page
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Chapter 2

Evidence Review

Diagnostic Triage

Initial Assessment Methods
(Adapted from AHCPR 1994)


Psychosocial Factors

Risk factors for chronicity


Information to Patients


Medical management can have a major impact on patients’ clinical progress and outcomes.
Initial management should include:
  • a thorough clinical history and brief physical examination
  • reassurance that there are no red flags of any serious spinal pathology (Avoid ‘labelling’)
  • reassurance that there is no need for special investigations in the absence of red flags
  • accurate information on the good prognosis for rapid recovery
  • reassurance that light physical activity is not harmful
practical advice on:
  • maintaining daily activities
  • return to work.
  • AHCPR 1994

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