Low back pain and sciatica Flashcards Preview

Phase II: Musculoskeletal > Low back pain and sciatica > Flashcards

Flashcards in Low back pain and sciatica Deck (43):
1

What are the red flags of back pain?

Age <20 or >55 with new onset pain
Systemic: weight loss, fever, night sweats
Immunocompromised: steroid use
History of malignancy
Recent trauma
IVDU

Thoracic pain
Non-mechanical back pain
New onset severe progressive back pain
Nocturnal pain and sleep disturbance

Widespread neuropathy: saddle anaesthesia
Abnormal gait
Incontinence, urinary retention, sexual problems

2

Which red flag symptoms are suggestive of cauda equina?

Abnormal gait
Severe or progressive bilateral leg weakness
Widespread neuropathy
Saddle anaesthesia
Reduced anal tone
Incontinence, urinary retention, sexual problems

3

Which red flag symptoms are suggestive of malignancy?

Age >55 with new onset pain
History of malignancy
Systemic: weight loss, fever, night sweats
Nocturnal pain and sleep disturbance
Progressive severe back pain: remains when supine
Localised spinal tenderness

4

Which cancers most commonly cause secondary bone cancer?

Breast
Lung
Thyroid
Kidney
Prostate
Colorectal

5

Which red flag symptoms are suggestive of spinal fracture?

Recent trauma
Sudden onset severe central spinal pain: relieved when supine
Structural deformity of spine
Point tenderness over vertebral body

6

Which red flag symptoms are suggestive of spinal infection?

Fever/rigors
Non-mechanical back pain
TB or recent UTI
Diabetes
IVDU
HIV or immunosuppression: long-term steroid use

7

Define yellow flag symptoms

Psychosocial factors shown to be indicative of long term chronicity and disability

8

List the yellow flag symptoms for back pain

Negative attitude
Fear avoidance behaviour and reduced activity
Expectation that passive treatment is beneficial
Tendency to depression, low morale, withdrawal
Social or financial problems: including compensation

9

What red flag symptoms are suggestive of cord compression?

Non-mechanical back pain
Thoracic pain
Incontinence, urinary retention, sexual dysfunction
Hx of malignancy
Widespread neurology
Progressive neurology

10

Outline the MRC power grading classification

5: normal power
4: active movement against gravity and resistance, but less than full power
3: active movement against gravity only
2: active movement with gravity eliminated
1: flicker
0: no movement

11

List the types of specific back pain

Traumatic: fracture, dislocation
Neoplastic: metastasis, primary
Infective: infective spondylodiscitis
Inflammatory: inflammatory spondyloarthropathy
Metabolic: osteomalacia, osteoporosis, hyperparathyroidism, Paget's disease

12

What are occupational black flags?

Obstacles to recovery

13

Name 3 occupational black flags

Industrial injury/litigation
Poor work satisfaction/industrial relations
Repetitive manual work

14

Differentiate between Upper motor neurone and Lower motor neurone lesions

Upper (CNS) vs Lower (nerve roots)
Muscle bulk: normal vs wasted (fasciculations)
Tone: increased vs decreased
Power: normal vs weak
Reflex: increased + Babinski vs decreased/absent
Special reflexes (UMNL): Hoffman and Clonus
Coordination: lost vs lost

15

Define Cauda Equina Syndrome

A collection of progressive neuro-deficit symptoms due to damage to the Cauda equina, including:
-Bilateral/unilateral sciatica
-Saddle anaesthesia
-Urinary retention, faecal incontinence, sexual dysfunction

16

Describe the prognosis of Cauda Equina if untreated

Progressive neuro-deficits leads to permanent loss of sphincter control with motor paralysis and sensory loss of legs.

Prognosis is better with decompression before sphincter paralysis.

Once paralysis develops, recovery is uncertain and likely to be incomplete.

17

How is Cauda Equina Syndrome confirmed?

Emergency MRI scan to confirm diagnosis, determine level of compression and any underlying cause.

18

Name 4 causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Herniation of a lumbar disc* at L4/L5 and L5/S1
Tumours: metastases, lymphomas, spinal tumours
Trauma
Infection: including epidural abscess
Congenital: congenital spinal stenosis, spina bifida
Late-stage ankylosing spondylitis
Post-op haematoma
Sarcoidosis

19

How is Cauda Equina Syndrome managed?

Immobilise spine if due to trauma
Emergency surgical decompression
Lesion debunking of SOL e.g. tumour or abscess

20

What investigation is useful for monitoring Cauda Equina Syndrome after surgical decompression?

Bladder scan to assess return of bladder function after surgical decompression.

21

Differentiate spinal tumours and spinal infections on MRI

Spinal tumours affect the vertebral bodies, but preserves the intervertebral discs due to lack of blood supply.

Spinal infections affect the intervertebral discs due to lack of immune cells, but preserves the vertebral bodies.

22

What are the commonest cancers affecting the spine?

Metastases: breast, lung, thyroid, renal, prostate
Myeloma

23

How is spinal metastasis investigated?

If unsure about spine stability: lie patient down
MRI entire spine
Staging/diagnostic CT of chest, abdomen, pelvis
FBC, U&Es, serum calcium, clotting
Myeloma screen, other tumour markers

24

Outline the treatment of spinal metastasis

Dexamethasone 16mg/d
Keep patient supine if spine unstable
Surgery indicated for
-spinal stabilisation
-decompression of cord compression
-severe pain from mechanical instability

25

Name the 2 commonest causes of spinal infection

Tuberculosis
Staph aureus

26

Which locations are most commonly affected with spinal infection?

Vertebral end-plates
Adjacent disc and vertebral body

27

Describe the pathology of spinal infection

Bony destruction leading to vertebral collapse.
Progressive kyphosis, extradural and paravertebral abscess.

28

How is spinal infection diagnosed?

Blood culture or sputum sample
Trucut needle biopsy

29

What is the treatment for spinal infection?

Antibiotics
TB: 6-12 months
Non-TB: 6-12 weeks

Surgery

30

What are the indications for surgical intervention in spinal infection?

Paralysis from spinal cord compression or cauda equina syndrome
Drain paravertebral abscess
Mechanical instability: progressive deformity, severe pain

31

Define cervical spondylosis with myelopathy

Progressive damage to cervical spinal cord due to central stenosis caused by wear and tear.

32

Describe the presentation of cervical spondylosis with myelopathy

Progressive in 90% over 5-years.
Worsening sensory/motor loss with incoordination, loss of dexterity, and poor balance.
UMN signs: increased tone and reflexes (+ve Babinski), +ve Hoffman sign and Clonus

33

What is the definitive management of cervical spondylosis with myelopathy?

Surgical decompression of spinal cord: prevent progression of neurological-deficit and incoordination.

34

Describe the clinical features of vascular claudication

Pain distal to proximal
Commonly unilateral
Relieved on standing
Relieved in seconds

35

Describe the clinical features of neurogenic claudication

Pain proximal to distal
Commonly bilateral
Sudden onset on standing or walking
Relieved on sitting
Relieved in minutes
Associated with paraesthesia, numbness, weakness

36

Describe the pathogenesis of neurogenic claudication

Lumbar spinal stenosis due to wear and tear and arthritic changes.

37

Name 2 signs on examination of neurogenic claudication

Flexed posture (Shopping cart sign): slightly opens spinal canal and relieves the pressure on the nerve roots.
Loss of lumbar lordosis
Pulses present

38

Describe the presentation of sciatica

Sudden onset (usually)
Specific localised foot pain
-L3/4 - L4 root: anterior thigh to knee, shin
-L4/5 - L5 root: lateral calf, medial/dorsal foot
-L5/S1 - S1 root: posterior calf, lateral/plantar foot

Often associated with paraesthesia

39

Outline the initial management of sciatica

80% self-resolve within 3 months

Bedrest for 2-3 days
Stay active and mobile within limits

NSAIDs, Codeine-based opiates
Gabapentin, Pregabalin

40

What secondary treatment options exist for sciatica if medical treatment fails?

Epidural or nerve root block
Lumbar discectomy

41

Outline the initial non-pharmacological treatment for low back pain and sciatica

Education and specific exercises. Consider NHS group-exercise programmes.
Promote and facilitate return to work and ADLs
Combined physical and psychological programme for persistent back pain
Consider manual therapy as part of package

42

Outline the pharmacological treatment of low back pain

Oral NSAIDs
Weak opioids: acute back pain only

Do not offer paracetamol alone

43

Outline the non-surgical and surgical options for low back pain

Epidural (anaesthetic + steroid): acute severe sciatica
-avoid in central spinal canal stenosis
Radiofrequency denervation: chronic low back pain

Spinal decompression