Persistent Low Back Pain

Availability

North South North West Statewide

Pre-referral work-up

History

All referrals should comply to referral standards and include in particular:

Key information to provide:

  • Duration of symptoms
  • Presence of neurological symptoms and signs
  • Functional impairment 
  • Time off work
  • Constitutional symptoms: Weight loss, fever and sweats
  • Treatment to date
  • Previous spinal surgery
  • Previous malignant disease
  • General medical condition and medication

Please forward relevant private investigation results (including imaging) and ask patients to bring current medication list.

Tests

  • Examination findings – including ROM of back, neurological assessment, reflexes
  • CT scan or MRI if indicated for neurological symptoms/signs

Interim/GP management

To refer a patient with this condition, please see the Spinal Assessment clinic page for the full referral process and templates.

Consider referral to community physiotherapy before referral to Spinal Assessment Clinic.

Simple analgesia including paracetamol and NSAIDs should be trialled.

Advice re weight loss and suitable exercise to maintain mobility should be offered.

For more information please see the Tasmanian Health Pathways website.

Emergency

Cauda equina symptoms or acute foot drop

Red flags are clinical indicators of possible serious underlying conditions requiring further medical intervention. They may or may not indicate an emergency.

For more acute/episodic pain consider referral to Acute Low Back Pain Drop In Clinics.

Emergency:

Proceed to Emergency Department (ED). Please contact ED Medical Officer in Charge:
LGH ED
– Phone: (03) 6777 6405 Fax: (03) 6348 7382
MCH ED
– Phone: (03) 6478 5120 Fax: (03) 6441 5923
NWRH ED
– Phone: (03) 6493 6340 Fax: (03) 6464 1926
RHH ED
– Phone: (03) 6166 6100 Fax: (03) 6173 0489

Urgent:

Urgent referrals should be accompanied by a phone call to the Consultant/Registrar to organise urgent review and the referral must be faxed.

We will endeavour to see these patients within four weeks, or sooner if clinically indicated.

Semi-urgent:

We will endeavour to see these patients within 12 weeks

Routine:

Next available appointment