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Routine Imaging for Uncomplicated Acute Low Back Pain: A Low-Value Intervention

April 27,2016 

Tips for Discussion of Results with Patients

  • Reassure patients that the absence of “red flag” symptoms is good news and means that
    their pain is likely to improve without imaging.
  • Discuss the anticipated clinical course, duration of symptoms, and reasons to seek urgent
    care for acute low back pain with patients at their initial visit.
  • Engage patients in brief, educational discussions about low back pain. Such discussions
    satisfy most patients even though they may expect routine low back imaging.
  • Anticipate abnormal findings on imaging and recognize that they are often are not
    related to clinical symptoms.

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The Bottom Line summaries reflect the expertise and opinions of the SGIM EBM Task Force as of the date of release of this summary.