This ACE Clinical Guidance (ACG) covers the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lumbar spine for diagnostic investigation of low back pain, providing evidence-based recommendations on the role of MRI for low back pain that is non-specific or linked to a specific spinal pathology.
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When to order MRI for low back pain (Oct 2020)
||Patients with non-specific low back pain, with or without radicular symptoms: MRI is not indicated.
||Patients with non-specific low back pain despite 4 to 6 weeks of conservative management: MRI may be indicated.
||Patients with low back pain and progressive neurological symptoms or signs: MRI is indicated.
||Patients with low back pain and suspected cauda equina syndrome: MRI is indicated.
||Patients with low back pain and cancer or infection (suspected or known): MRI is indicated.
||Patients with new or progressive low back pain following an invasive procedure on the lumbar spine: MRI is indicated.
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When to order MRI for low back pain