An Evidence-Based Diagnostic Classification System for Low Back Pain

Seeing a need to standardize and simplify the diagnostic process for low back pain, investigators at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, developed a diagnostic classification system for conditions causing chronic low back pain (LBP). In this article, authors describe how they assembled current literature findings into a standardized, user-friendly diagnostic classification system incorporating an evidence-based diagnostic category checklist for use in both chiropractic research and in general clinical practice.

Take Home Message

This article describes an efficient in-office clinical exam and checklist that can be used as a tool for aiding the diagnosis of LBP, based on research evidence. The classification system includes 5 broad categories incorporating several subcategories. The major categories include nociceptive pain, neuropathic pain, functional instability, and other poorly defined diagnoses.

Practical Application

This article models translational research – using research findings to develop tools applicable to clinical practice. This article serves as an example of tools that can be implemented in clinical practice that also aid the ability to interact with other health care providers by substantiating diagnoses with research evidence and using common terminology understood by those within and outside the chiropractic profession. Documentation of evidence-based diagnosis may facilitate third-party reimbursement.

For more information, the complete article is online at:


Vining R, Potocki E, Seidman M, Morgenthal AP. An Evidence-Based Diagnostic Classification System for Low Back Pain. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2013;57(3):189-204.