Low Back Pain

Primary Care Providers

The MSK CIAC Low Back Pain Program is a shared-care model of care where patients receive timely low back pain assessment, education and evidence-based self-management plans.

For Primary Care Providers- Low Back Pain Program Information Sheet and FAQ document. Document will open in a PDF.

For patients- Low Back Pain Patient Guide. Document will open in a PDF.

Referral to the Program

In order to refer low back pain patients to MSK CIAC, Primary Care Providers are required to register with the Rapid Access Clinics for Low Back Pain, and complete an online module to refer patients to the Low Back Pain Program. 

Please contact MSK CIAC at 1-888-868-5568, if you have questions.

Referral Criteria

The MSK CIAC Low Back Pain Program is for patients who are 18 years of age and over with:

In addition, it is recommended to consider referral in the aboveā€mentioned scenarios prior to initiation of an opioid prescription, imaging referral or specialist referral.

MSK CIAC Low Back Pain Referral Form

All referrals from Rapid Access Clinics (RAC) verified Primary Care Providers must be directed to MSK CIAC Central Intake via fax to 1-888-556-0966 utilizing the standardized MSK CIAC Low Back Pain Referral Form. We do not accept consult notes or any other referral forms.


Patients will be assessed by an Advanced Practice Provider. One or more follow-up appointments will be provided for patients identified as being at risk of chronic low back pain (e.g. those with complex presentation including yellow flags or risk of opioid dependency).

Patients deemed potential surgical candidates will be referred to the MSK CIAC Practice Lead (spine specialist) for further assessment and management. The Practice Lead will order diagnostic imaging (e.g. MRI), recommend appropriate advanced interventions (e.g. spinal injections), and refer patients for a consultation with a spine surgeon when indicated.

The referring Primary Care Provider will receive a consult note detailing patient assessment and treatment recommendations within 7 business days of all assessments.

Assessment Centre locations

Advanced Practice Provider assessments take place in MSK CIAC Low Back Pain Assessment Centres. The MSK CIAC Low Back Pain Program has 15 Assessment Centres located in communities across Ontario Health (West). Patients will be booked for an assessment at the location closest to their home. After receiving the referral, the Advanced Practice Provider’s office will contact the patient to book their appointment. Patients can expect an appointment date within four weeks.

For those patients referred to the Practice Lead, further assessment(s) will take place at Hamilton General Hospital.

Patients are fully covered by OHIP.

This program is part of Ontario Health (West) Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, Burlington, Brant Region.