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Med Clin North Am. 2006 May;90(3):505-23.

Back pain emergencies.

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Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Most adults in the United States will experience an episode of back pain at some point during their lifetime. Most will present to their primary care physician for evaluation and treatment. Many patients have non-life-threatening etiologies and recover within 4 to 6 weeks. A small percentage, however, have back pain due to a potentially life-threatening emergency. AD,rupturing AAA, SEM, cauda equina syndrome, vertebral osteomyelitis,and SEA are just some of the medical emergencies that can present with back pain. Clinical suspicion for these diagnoses begins with a thorough history and physical examination. It is imperative that the office-based physician search for and accurately identify any red flag within the history or physical examination. Appropriate laboratory studies and diagnostic imaging are obtained based on the suspected etiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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