Back pain

Back pain is not usually the most exciting chart in the rack but there are many serious diagnoses lurking out there that we have to look out for.  In this episode, we’ll go over how to do a good back pain history and physical, catch the red flags, form a broad differential, order the right tests (not everyone need labs and films!), and treat the patient’s pain effectively.

Back pain

Back Pain Show Notes (Word Format)

Back Pain Show Notes (PDF)

EM Education Podcasts and Websites

This is a short episode on the EM podcasts and websites that I recommend to further your education.  Since I take no money from anyone, these are my unbiased opinions of the best podcasts and websites out there.  There are many more podcasts and websites out there- these are the ones that I like.  If you have suggestions for podcasts or websites to add, please email me and I’ll add them to the list.

EM Education Podcasts and Websites

Here are the links to the podcasts and websites that I talk about with a short description:

Paid Podcasts:

EM:RAP (Emergency Medicine Reviews and Perspectives): The gold standard in emergency medicine education, join ACEP and EMRA for 55 bucks a year to get it for free

EMA (Emergency Medical Abstracts): A fast paced monthly review of the literature, also free with ACEP and EMRA membership, both EM:RAP and EMA are available through the EMRA website

EMCast: Monthly reviews from Dr. Amal Mattu and company on  Costs 30 bucks a year as a resident but totally worth it


Free Podcasts:

EMCrit: Emergency medicine critical care topics from Dr Scott Weingart.  Use with caution if you’re a beginner but its really cutting edge stuff.  Free in iTunes and on his website at

ERCast: A community emergency medicine doc getting curbside consultation from all sorts of specialists.  A great practice based podcast.  Free on iTunes and on his website at

SMART:EM: Deep dives on the literature behind basic things we do in medicine.  Once again, use with caution if you’re a beginner but you won’t find information like this anywhere else.  Free on iTunes and at


Free websites: Made by Dr. Cliff Reid, an EM doc in Australia.  Summarizes EM relevant literature from all over the globe

Life in the Fast Lane: EM docs in Australia that have their own mix of education and humor that’s hard to beat

EMTOC: Made by Dr Wes Baber, a third year senior resident at Brooke Army Medical Center.  A central hub for the SAUSHEC EM residency but also full of EM educational videos that are really slick.

EMdose:Made by Dr. Michael Bellamy, a 2nd year resident a Brooke Army Medical Center.  A brand new blog that focuses on TwoADays- two emergency medicine facts published 5 days a week.  Get your “jab of medical knowledge” here.  Subscribe to the RSS feed or email updates to get them delivered right to your device or email.

Febrile infants

Infants with fever present a special challenge in the emergency department.  Most of these children require large workups and admission to be sure that we aren’t missing serious bacterial infections or meningitis.  The risks are high here and we need to make sure that we do the right thing for our smallest and youngest patients.  We’ll talk about how to assess infants from the foot of the bed, how to get an effective history and physical, how to do a sepsis workup in this age group, and some tricks of the trade for how to do an LP on an infant.

UPDATE 11/11/2013- Thanks to listener Anna- I had a mixup at 21:30 when talking about which children to get cath UAs.  When I said it, I mixed up the recommendations for circumcised and uncircumcised males.  They are correct in the show notes.  Here is the correct version, I will edit the audio when I get a chance:

Cath UAs on:

All CIRCUMCISED males under 6 months old

All UNCIRCUMCISED males under 12 months old

All females under 24 months old

There’s also a bonus section on pediatric UTIs and how to use a glidescope.

Febrile infants

Febrile infants show notes (Word format)

Febrile infants show notes (PDF format)

Just FYI- EM Basic has a facebook site.  If you “like” the page you’ll get notifications on each new episode.  Feel free to leave a comment and start some conversations on the topics.

EM Basic facebook site

Finally, as promised- an international listener contacted me so I’d like to give him a shout out.  Dr. Lars Lomberg is an EM physician in Germany where there are no formal EM training programs.  He has a website for Emergency Medicine in Germany so if you can read German, check it out.

Sorry for the delay…

Hey everybody,

I’m sorry for the delay in the most recent podcast.  I am trying to produce one every 10-14 days but I got busy with residency presentations so the most recent episode got delayed to the 16 day mark.

At the 16 day mark, I had a day off and I was pumped to finally sit down and record the next episode on febrile infants.  I come home from a morning meeting to find water pouring out of my front door.  A pipe in the kitchen burst and flooded most of the house.  In between lots of calls to the insurance company, working with the cleanup company, and living out of a suitcase in a hotel, I haven’t been able to sit down and record the next episode.  Is that a pretty good excuse?  Thanks to the wonderful people at Allstate insurance and ServPro professional cleanup, life is starting to return back to normal.

Don’t fear- the next episode is already prepped and I’ll get the chance to record it on Monday September 19th, come hell or high water- pun intended.

Thanks to everyone who has written reviews and rated the podcast on iTunes.  Thanks to you, EM Basic made it to the top of the “New and Noteworthy” in the medicine section on iTunes and the daily download count doubled overnight.

Thanks for listening to the podcast and thanks for holding on an extra week while my wife and I get our house back together.



We see patients with headache all the time in the ED. Most patients with headache don’t have a life threatening diagnosis but its our job to pick up that small percentage of patients that do.  In this episode we’ll go through how to take a good headache history, how to catch the red flags, the workup, and treatment of headache in the ED.  There’s also an extended bonus section that will review how to do an LP along with a few tricks of the trade.


Headache show notes (Word format)

Headache show notes (PDF format)