Establishing the diagnosis of low back pain: patient selection for interventional pain medicine

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Abstract

Low back pain is one of the most prominent healthcare problems but there is no gold standard for its diagnosis. Aspecific low back pain can be subdivided into radicular and mechanical pain. The diagnosis mainly relies on a combination of elements, such as medical history, physical examination, medical imaging and other possible additional tests. Once a working diagnosis has been established, confirmation of the causative structure and level is sought by means of diagnostic blocks. The use of the different diagnostic tests and blocks should be guided by the balance between the potential benefit (mainly in terms of improved treatment outcome, the possible burden for the patient and the chances of withholding potential effective treatment to patients) with false-negative test results.

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