Use of Imaging Studies for Low Back Pain (LBP)
Clinical guidelines for treating patients with acute low back pain recommend against the use of imaging in the absence of red flags (in other words, indications of a serious underlying pathology such as a fracture or tumor). Unnecessary or routine imaging is problematic because it is not associated with improved outcomes and exposes patients to unnecessary harms such as radiation exposure and further unnecessary treatment.
- Intravenous drug abuse
- Major organ transplant
- Neurological impairment
- Prolonged use of corticosteroids
- Recent trauma
- Spinal infection
Consider alternative treatment options prior to ordering diagnostic imaging studies, such as:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Nonpharmacologic treatment, such as heat and massage.
- Exercise to strengthen the core and low back or physical therapy.
Other available resources:
- National Committee for Quality Assurance — NCQA.org
- Choosing Wisely — Choosingwisely.org
- American Academy of Family Physicians — AAFP.org
HEDIS is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
April 2020 Anthem Provider News and Important Updates -- Nevada