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Yellow Flags in Back Pain

  •  Inappropriate attitudes and beliefs about back pain
  •  Inappropriate pain behaviour
  •  Work related problems or compensation issues
  •  Emotional problems


“Risk Factors for Chronicity”

Early management of these factors may have a significant impact on prognosis

They include the following;

  •  Previous history of Low Back Pain (LBP)
  •  Total work loss (due to LBP) in the last 12 months
  •  Radiating leg pain
  •  Reduced Straight Leg Raising
  •  Signs of nerve root involvement
  •  Reduced trunk muscle strength
  •  Poor physical fitness
  •  Heavy smoking
  •  Self-rated poor health
  •  Psychological distress
  •  Depressive symptoms
  •  Disproportionate illness behaviour
  •  Low job satisfaction
  •  Personal Problems
  •  Medico-legal proceedings


Further Reading

Yellow flags are discussed in detail at the Sheffield Back Pain website






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Pain Service Website, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Webmaster Dr J G de Courcy, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia
email: pain.webmaster[at]

Page updated 15/02/2016