The Mnemonic “DELINEATING” can help you remember the step by step approach to back pain. This is because this memory aid takes a logical approach to outline the steps in diagnosing and treating a patient with back pain properly.
Back pain is often the harbinger of a number of potential health hazards and therefore a common symptom of patients visiting clinics.
This mnemonic was devised by me during my clinical rotations and has stood the test of time in helping me to remember the steps easily
Step By Step Approach to Back Pain
- D- Determine the type of pain reported by the patient as the first step
- E- Evaluate risk factors for serious underlying causes
- L- Local pain: caused by injury to pain-sensitive structures
- I- Identifying serious causes: radiculopathy, fracture, tumor, infection, or referred pain from visceral structures
- N- Note pain referred to the back from abdominal or pelvic viscera
- E- Examine pain of spine origin, location, and radiation patterns
- A- Assess aggravating factors: coughing, sneezing, or voluntary contraction of abdominal muscles
- T- Test postures that stretch nerves and nerve roots
- I- Investigate circumstances associated with onset of back pain
- N- Note muscle spasm and associated findings
- G- Gauge for possible exaggeration of pain in accident or work-related injuries