When is lower back pain a sign of something serious?

April 30, 2014

Drs. VenkateshThiruganasambandamoorthy and Ian Stiell have published a paper in The Journal of Emergency Medicine that identifies risk factors for non-traumatic lower back pain of patients who come into Emergency Departments. Lower back pain can be a symptom of serious conditions, such as internal bleeding, cancer, fractures, or slipped discs. The study involved 329 patients and identified four risk factors: use of blood thinners, decreased sensation on examination, pain that is worse at night and pain that is persistent despite proper treatment. These risk factors identified serious problems with 91% sensitivity. More studies are required to develop a clinical decision tool. The study can be read here.

Funders: Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, University of Ottawa Department of Emergency Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

Media contact
Paddy Moore
Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
613-737-8899 x73687
613-323-5680 (cell)