Red flags to screen for vertebral fracture in people presenting with low back pain

Review written by Dr Sarah Haag info

Key Points

  1. Healthcare providers should know the strength of the red flags they are using for their patients presenting with low back pain.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Low back pain (LBP) is a very common clinical diagnosis across all healthcare settings. Many professions have long utilized red flags to identify people who present with LBP who may have a more serious pathology that would need further investigation. Malignancy and spinal fractures are two common pathologies that red flags have been used to identify.

The objective of this review was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of red flags used to screen for vertebral fracture in people presenting with LBP.

Malignancy and spinal fractures are two common pathologies that red flags have been used to identify.
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“Screening for red flags” is a part of most healthcare professional training but are often presented without being questioned as to their accuracy.

METHODS

  • This Cochrane Review is an update of a previous review and follows the standard Cochrane search methods.
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