Contraindication is a term expressing that a procedure, surgery, medication, therapy protocol, exercise or diagnostic test should not be used. Generally, a contraindicated activity is deemed undesirable because it is likely to be harmful to you, based on your condition, medical history and other factors.
According the National Institutes of Health, there are two types of contraindications: Absolute and relative.
Absolute contraindication is a warning that a treatment or test should be avoided altogether. With absolute contraindication, the procedure or test under consideration may result in a life-threatening situation.
You might understand absolute contraindication as a red light of medical decision-making.
Relative contraindication is one that requires you and your health care provider to carefully weigh the benefits against the risks of the procedure you’re considering before proceeding. Also, the National Institutes of Health says relative contraindication means caution should be exercised when two drugs or procedures are used together. Again, it’s a matter of whether the benefits of using them together will outweigh the risks.
A relative contradiction functions a bit like a yellow light for medical decision-making.
Related: What Not to do When You Have Back Pain.