Question Chronic Back Pain

tprattie

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I have only been coding for Neurosurgery for a little over a year. I use a combination of the coding guidelines in our ICD10 and CPT books and some online resources - a favorite being icd10data.com. When you look up M54.5 (lower back pain) on icd10data.com, it has a list of "approximate synonyms", which lists "chronic low back pain"; when you look in our ICD10 under the guidelines for chronic pain - 6.1.b.i. , it states "For example, if the code describes the site of the pain, but does not fully describe whether the pain is acute or chronic, then both codes (G89.29 - other chronic pain) and the site of the pain. If you look up the code using the icd10data.com site, it clearly lists chronic low back pain as a synonym but when you look up the code in our ICD10 books, there are no synonyms listed - this is confusing to me because if you use G89.29 with M54.5 according to our books this would be correct, but if you use the icd10data.com site then I would think it would be listing the "chronic" portion twice. I like to use different sources, but now I am second guessing and think I should only be using our guidelines in the books.

I guess my question is:

1. Is the online site a good source or should I just be using our books to audit?
2. Is there a better online site to use as another source?
 
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I would stick with M54.5 to describe low back pain because it is specific to that diagnosis of low back pain. I only use G89.4 or G89.29 when my doc notates that the pt is in chronic/acute pain. There is also an Excludes 2 (not included here) note under G89 that involves any M54.- code. I think you are coding it appropriately. I also love using icd10data.com to help give me a lead of where I'm supposed to be looking but I always 100% rely on what the documentation and book is telling me. Hope this helps!
 
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