When is inpatient care indicated for the management of mechanical low back pain?

Updated: Mar 30, 2020
  • Author: Everett C Hills, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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See the list below:

  • Mechanical low back pain (LBP) generally is treated in an outpatient setting. Inpatient care may be appropriate in some cases when compelling evidence of neurological deficits is present along with an accompanying history of infection, malignancy, and/or trauma. The initial medical workup should be performed in the general acute hospital setting.

    • Patients who are elderly or severely disabled with no social support may need to be admitted into a medical setting for diagnostic studies and therapeutic interventions.

    • A comprehensive interdisciplinary approach combines the medical management of the pain with the functional restoration of motion and activities of daily living that is achieved through physical and occupational therapy.

    • More varied modalities can be used in the rehabilitation unit (eg, aquatic therapy, other physical modalities), as can counseling for the patient and his or her family. Psychological counseling may be more readily available in the rehabilitation unit, compared with the general medical or surgical unit.

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