Back Pain

A3. Back Pain (acute and chronic)

A3.1. Conduct a history and physical exam for low back pain and be able to differentiate between the possible causes

A3.2. Be familiar with the Core Back Tool and be able to use it to identify the different patterns of back pain

A3.3. Recognize red flags for patients presenting with low back pain.

A3.4. Propose an initial management plan that includes:

  1. Appropriate and timely investigation of urgent or potentially serious conditions
  2. Evidence-informed management of low back pain, including non-pharmacological physical treatment, pharmacological modalities, return to work strategies, and secondary prevention.


Low Back Pain Clinical Card 2014

Sherlock KM, Keegan DA.  Low Back Pain.  Canadian Family Medicine Clinical Card.  2010.  Available at:

Low Back Pain

Toward Optimized Practice (TOP) Low Back Pain Working Group. 2015 December. Evidence-informed primary care management of low back pain: Clinical practice guideline. Edmonton, AB: Toward Optimized Practice. Available from:

CEP CoreBackTool 2016

Centre for Effective Practice.  Clinically Organized Relevant Exam (CORE) Back Tool.  Published March 2016.  Available at

Top 10 differential diagnoses in family medicine - Low back pain

Ponka D, Kirlew M. Top 10 differential diagnoses in family medicine: Low back pain. Can Fam Physician. 2007;53(6):1058. doi: 53/6/1058 [pii].

Opioid Risk Tool

Centre for Effective Practice.  Low Back Pain Strategy: Opioid Risk Tool.  Published January 2013.  Available at  Reprinted from Webster LR, Webster R. Predicting aberrant behaviors in Opioid-treated patients: preliminary validation of the Opioid risk tool. Pain Med. 2005;6(6):432.

CORE Neck Tool and Headache Navigator

Toronto: Centre for Effective Practice. Reprinted with Permission from Centre for Effective Practice (July 2016). CORE Neck Tool and Headache Navigator.