Recognizing, Diagnosing and Managing Emergent Causes of Low Back Pain - CMEZ780

Recognizing, Diagnosing and Managing Emergent Causes of Low Back Pain

by Ross Kalman, MD
(4.5 / 24 ratings )

This course is credentialed for:
Medicine (1.00 Credits)
Physician (1.00 Credits)

Price: $15.00
CE-PRO Price: $7.50


Low back pain is a common complaint that will present in a variety of practice settings including the Emergency Department, primary care office, urgent care, and rehabilitation facility. While most cases of acute low back pain are benign, self-limited, and musculoskeletal in origin, a small minority can be life-threatening. Thus, it is critical to identify red flag signs and symptoms that point to “can’t miss” serious diagnoses that might lead to permanent disability or death if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. The goal of this course is to provide clinicians with a focused and structured approach for differentiating patients who have benign causes of pain from those who will need a medical workup and possibly advanced imaging.


The goal of this program is to help providers in various practice settings distinguish life-threatening causes of low back pain from nonspecific, musculoskeletal presentations. After studying the information presented here, you will be able to:
  • Recognize the important anatomic and pathophysiologic components of low back pain
  • Identify red flag signs and symptoms in the history and physical exam that suggest potentially life-threatening pathology
  • Distinguish situations when emergent imaging studies are warranted from situations when it is best to take a conservative approach to management
  • Identify the importance of collaboration and communication among various healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses, and physical and occupational therapists
  • Recognize that a multidisciplinary approach is the key to treating acute and chronic low back pain

Accreditation Information
This course is intended for an interprofessional audience, including physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and imaging and radiation therapists.
Physicians: Take this version of the course to ensure you receive appropriate credit.
For the version accredited or approved for another profession, go to your specific profession at or If you have a CE Direct login ID and password (generally provided by your employer), please log in as you normally would at and search for this topic title.
Jointly Accredited Provider logoIn support of improving patient care, OnCourse Learning (a Relias LLC company) is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
OnCourse Learning is also approved by the Florida Board of Medicine, Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, and Florida Physician Assistants (provider # 50-1489).
Physician Continuing Education Credit
OnCourse Learning designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Physician Assistant Continuing Education Credit
American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society. Physician assistants may receive a maximum of 1.0 hour of Category I credit for completing this program.
There is no commercial support provided for this online educational activity.

Course Originally Released on: 5/15/2019
Date of Most Recent Review: 5/15/2019
Course Termination/Update Date: 5/15/2022

Unless stated above, the planners and authors of this course have declared no relevant conflicts of interest that relate to this educational activity. Relias LLC guarantees this educational activity is free from bias.

Please see CE Course Instructions to learn how to earn CE credit for this module.


For Florida professionals:

This course completion will be electronically reported to CE Broker as required per Florida Statute 456.025(7). Click here to view your CE Broker transcript and check the status of your CE requirements with a FREE 7-day CE Broker trial subscription. It may take up to 24 hours for the course to appear on your CE Broker transcript.

It is now required that all CE is completed and reported to CE Broker before you renew your license. When you complete continuing education with us, OnCourse Learning will report your hours for you.

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Please check the licenses/certifications section under my account (after logging in) to make sure you have entered a valid FL license number. This information is required for correct reporting of your course completions to CE Broker.

Reports to CE Broker

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Amanda W - Charlottesville, VA  ·  Jan 08, 2020
I do not have anything to add
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Karin J - Apex, NC  ·  Jan 07, 2020
too clinical for my skillset
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Angie S - Cary, NC  ·  Nov 12, 2019
This was a great course for discussing red flags in low back pain. My only suggestion would be to add more assessment information with low back pain.Back pain is a large portion of urgent care and primary care visits as well as ER.
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Maritza L - CABO ROJO, PR  ·  Oct 21, 2019
excellent continued education activity
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Linda P - McDonough, GA  ·  Oct 02, 2019
As a nurse, the test was challenging. But, the information cleared a few things about particular types of cancer. I always thought that multiple Myeloma was a cancer of the bone marrow, so metastasis was not a concern as it was already present. The information was a great additional to my knowledge.
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Price: $15.00
CE-PRO Price: $7.50