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Triaging Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

How to triage conditions

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


1. Probab­ility Diagnosis - Dr's perspe­ctive
2. Serious Disorders should not to missed - high index of suspicion, red flags and considered until proven otherwise
3. Pitfalls (Condi­tions that are often missed - usually non-life threat­ening)
Further questions should be considered
1. Symptoms due to viscer­al/­ser­iou­s/p­ote­ntially life threat­ening disease?
2. Tissue respon­sible?
3. What is happening for the tissue to generate pain?

Back Pain General S&S

Not Associated with Marked Swelli­ng/­warmth
Limited to one joint
Lessened by rest and aggravated by Activity (opposite to inflam­matory back pain)
Systemic Inflam­matory
Boggy swelling, warmth and redness of a joint - symmetric
Pain relieved with activity, aggravated by rest & inactivity
Morning stiffn­ess­/pain >30 mins
Systemic disease
Subcut­aneous nodules on extensor Surfaces
Joint & Valgus Deform­ities common
Extensor tendon ruptures
Night pain
Local Inflam­matory
No systemic signs
Localised morning pain/s­tif­fness >30 minutes
Localised boggy swelling, warmth & redness of a joint
Night pain
Bony Swelling, symmet­ric­al/­asy­mme­trical
Morning stiffn­ess­/pain <30 minutes
Aggravated by activity, relieved by rest
Weakness and tightness of muscles crossing involved joints
Varus deformity
Crystal deposition joint disease
Very painful, red ,hot, swollen joint
Loss of ROM
No systemic signs/­sym­ptoms
Severe joint destru­ction
Nerve Compre­ssion
Pain, Weakness, SMR findings, paraes­thesias in derma/­myo­tomal areas
Stretching of Nerve increases Pain
+ve Tinel's sign
No comfor­table position
No relief from pain
Often wakes up patient from sleep
Fever, weight loss, fatigue
Septic Arthritis
Red, Hot , Swollen joint
Very Painful
Fever and Fatigue
Decreased Joint ROM

Visceral Referral patterns

Additional referral Patterns
Bladder: Lower abdomen and upper thighs
Oesoph­agus: Sternum + Left upper Thorax
Heart: Base of neck, left jaw, left shoulder + arm
Liver: Right Shoulder
Pancreas: Lower left quadrant, umbilicus
Spleen: Left Shoulder + Upper third of arm

Patient Consul­tation

Three phases:
Diagnostic phase (Hx, physical exam, invest­iga­tions)
Management (educa­tion, reassu­rance, explan­ation, manual, functi­onal, motivation interv­iewing, OTC medica­tions, follow up, further invest­iga­tions, referral)

Types of Rapport Building

Neurol­ing­uistic Progra­mming (NLP):
Establish rapport by, mimicking body language, speech, posture, pace - improves patient's attitudes
Coping patient's gestures and position - uncomf­ort­abl­e/u­nusual gestures should not be mirrored- matched by doing something else in the same rhythm - cross pacing
Matching a person's pace/r­hythm - breathing, talking, movements of the head, hands/feet
Then go on to try and change their pace by changing yours - leading
Vocal Copying
Copying intona­tion, pitch, volume, pace, rhythm, breathing and length of the sentence