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Telehealth examination of the lumbar spine

HumanInsight Telehealth examination of the lumbar spine

Technol Health Care. 2022 Aug 3. doi: 10.3233/THC-220041. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Telehealth evaluations of musculoskeletal conditions have increased due to the stay-at-home policies enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Back pain is one of the most common complaints in primary care. While telehealth may never supplant in-person evaluation of back pain, it is imperative in a changing world to learn to perform this evaluation via telephone or video. Virtual visits rely on history-taking and patient self-reported descriptions of pain elicited from self-palpation or specific movements while on the telephone with the clinician. Video examinations provide a unique way of evaluating the lower back compared to telephone because of the ability to visualize the actions of the patient.

OBJECTIVE: To create an evaluation pathway for examination of the lumbar spine via telehealth.

METHODS: Our group has created a step-by-step evaluation pathway to help physicians direct their patients through typical lumbar examination elements, including inspection, palpation, range of motion, and strength, special, and functional testing.

RESULTS: We have developed a table of questions and instructions and a glossary of images of each maneuver to facilitate lumbar spine examination via telemedicine.

CONCLUSIONS: This paper provides a guide for extracting clinically relevant information while performing telemedicine examinations of the lumbar spine.

PMID:35964215 | DOI:10.3233/THC-220041

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