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Back Pain

Back Pain is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Low back pain (LBP):
    • Refers to pain in the area between the lower rib cage and the gluteal folds, often with radiation into the thighs
  • Sciatica:
    • Pain in the distribution of the lower lumbar spinal roots
    • May be accompanied by neurosensory and motor deficits
  • Pain classification:
    • Acute: <6 wk
    • Subacute: 6–12 wk
    • Chronic: >12 wk


  • Nonspecific musculoligamentous source (great majority) (e.g., muscle, ligament, fascia)
  • Herniation of the nucleus pulposus
  • Degenerative joints or discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Anatomic abnormalities—especially spondylolisthesis
  • Fractures from trauma and osteoporosis
  • Underlying systemic diseases (minority):
    • Neoplasm
    • Infections
    • Vascular (dissection, aneurysm, and thrombosis)
    • Renal
    • GI
    • Pelvic organ pathology

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Back Pain." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307062/1.3/Back_Pain.
Back Pain. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307062/1.3/Back_Pain. Accessed June 18, 2019.
Back Pain. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307062/1.3/Back_Pain
Back Pain [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 June 18]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307062/1.3/Back_Pain.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Back Pain ID - 307062 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307062/1.3/Back_Pain PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -