Recognizing, Diagnosing and Managing Emergent Causes of Low Back Pain - PT780

Recognizing, Diagnosing and Managing Emergent Causes of Low Back Pain

by Ross Kalman, MD
(4.5 / 55 ratings )

This course is credentialed for:
Physical Therapy (1.00 Hour(s))

Price: $19.00
CE-PRO Price: $9.50


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.
Physical therapists: 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.
Relias LLC (formerly OnCourse Learning) is an approved sponsor by the New York State Education Department of CE for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants from 6/11/2019 to 6/10/2022.
This activity is provided by the TX Board of PT Examiners Accredited Provider 2202008TX for 02/01/2019 to 02/28/2022 and meets continuing competence requirements for physical therapist and physical therapist assistant licensure renewal in Texas. The assignment of Texas PT CCUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by TPTA or TBPTE.
OnCourse Learning is recognized by the Physical Therapy Board of California as an approved reviewer and provider of continuing competency courses for the state of California for 4/5/10 to 12/31/18. Relias LLC is recognized by the Physical Therapy Board of California as an approved reviewer and provider of continuing competency courses for the state of California as of 1/1/2019.
Relias LLC (formerly OnCourse Learning) is a licensed physical therapy continuing education sponsor (#216.000290) with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from October 2018 through September 30, 2020.
Other states may accept this course for meeting their CE requirements. Check with your state association or board.

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.

Read more about the new license renewal process at and claim your free Basic Account in CE Broker to see what has already been reported for you.

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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Anna M - Tucson, AZ  ·  Apr 18, 2020
This course helped refresh and increase my knowledge in this area.
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Sharon H - Lake Balboa, CA  ·  Apr 14, 2020
Good information regarding testing for nonmusculoskeletal causes of back pain.
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Christopher M - St.Catharines, ON  ·  Apr 10, 2020
It was good information to know and a good refresher.
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Kerry D - Fort Worth, TX  ·  Apr 02, 2020
Good overview of emergent causes of LBP
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Peter B - Tolland , CT  ·  Mar 25, 2020
Educational regarding red flags
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Price: $19.00
CE-PRO Price: $9.50