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Clinical Crossroads
August 26, 1998

A 45-Year-Old Man With Low Back Pain and a Numb Left Foot

Author Affiliations

Dr Weinstein is Director, Surgical Outcomes Assessment Program, Professor of Surgery and Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth College, and Director, Multidisciplinary Spine Center and Patient Preference Laboratory, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hanover, NH.


Clinical Crossroads section editor: Margaret A. Winker, MD, Senior Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 1998;280(8):730-736. doi:10.1001/jama.280.8.730

DR DALEY: Mr S is a healthy, active 45-year-old attorney and father of 5 children who has low back pain and a numb left foot. He lives in a suburb of Boston and his medical insurance is through a managed care plan in Massachusetts.

Mr S has experienced intermittent episodes of low back pain after exertion or physical activity for 17 years. He remembers first having an episode of low back pain after playing basketball. During ensuing years, he had occasional episodes of low back pain that responded to treatment with 1 or 2 days of bed rest and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. He has never had a trauma resulting in a back injury.