Clinical case study

Taking action for acute low back pain

Kyle, a 47-year-old man, presents with a history of low back pain for 8 days. He wants to know if he has damaged his back and is requesting imaging. What now?

  • Start: 16 October 2018
  • Cost: free

C90C6E7D5971203A 82B46544B80A Lbp Patient For Case Study


This activity has been approved for 2 points (CPD Activity) under the RACGP CPD Program for the 2020–2022 triennium (activity: 192622)

This activity has been accredited for 1 hour under the educational activity category in the ACRRM PD Program for the 2020–2022 triennium (activity: 19468)



Kyle is a 47-year-old financial advisor with a history of low back pain for 8 days. He is requesting imaging as he is worried he has damaged something. What information would you like to know about Kyle? How would you respond to his request for imaging?

Complete this online case study and receive instant feedback on your responses, compare your approach with your peers and read expert commentary provided by Dr Symon McCallum, a persistent pain and anaesthetic specialist and a fellow of the Faculty of Pain Medicine at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.


Learning outcomes

On completion of this activity you should be able to:

  • use a targeted history and physical examination to diagnose low back pain
  • identify the limited role of imaging for low back pain, except when an underlying serious condition is suspected
  • use a risk stratification approach to identify risk factors for poor prognosis for patients with low back pain at the first or second consultation
  • outline the benefits of activity and the limited role of medicines in managing low back pain.