[Back Pain: When do I Have to Commit?]

Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2019 May;144(10):665-669. doi: 10.1055/a-0759-7982. Epub 2019 May 13.
[Article in German]


In the case of acute back pain, the indication for inpatient diagnosis and therapy is rarely given. The indication is provided if a potentially dangerous disease situation is suspected and if the pain is immobilizing or cannot be controlled on an outpatient basis. The high treatment numbers in German hospitals indicate that there is overuse in the treatment of back pain. Back pain, especially acute low back pain, is a frequent consultative activity of general practitioners. Serious diseases of the spine occur in only about 1 % of cases in GP practices. Identifying potentially dangerous disease outcomes requires a detailed history and thorough physical examination of the unclothed patient. "Red flags", together with the overall clinical impression of the patient, provide decisive warnings for urgently needed back pain. Common non-specific low back pain can be treated on an outpatient basis by prescribing painkillers and instructions for exercise by GPs.

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain* / diagnosis
  • Back Pain* / epidemiology
  • Back Pain* / therapy
  • Germany
  • Humans