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What it measures:

The Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Index (ODI) Version 1.0 and ODI Version 2.0measure disability and quality of life in individuals with low back pain (LBP). The main difference between these 2 versions is the way the subjective measure of pain is described throughout the questionnaire. Version 1.0 references the use of painkillers during activity and sleeping, while Version 2.0 references the intensity of pain during activity and sleeping.(1)

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons/Musculoskeletal Outcomes Data Evaluation and Management System (AAOS/MODEMS) and other spine societies have added ODI Version 1.0 to their list of spine outcome measures. AAOS omits sections 1, 8, and 9, and scores the sections from 1-6 rather than 0-5.(1)

A Chiropractic revised Oswestry pain questionnaire was published by a chiropractic study group in the United Kingdom. This version was meant to increase the sensitivity of the measurement for individuals with less severe symptoms; however, it confuses impairment with disability.(1)

The original ODI was modified by replacing the sex life portion with a question about the changing degree of pain. The Modified Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire still consists of 10 sections, each graded from 0 to 5 points.(1)

ODI has been translated into multiple languages. The translated versions, approximately 40 different languages, have been validated independently.(1,2)

ICF Domain(s):

  • Body Structure and Function
  • Activity
  • Participation


Conditions & Test Variations Included in this Summary:

This summary contains information on use of the ODI Version 2.0 in patients or clients with LBP.

Taskforce Recommendations:

ODI is not explicitly recommended by any clinical practice guidelines or professional associations.

Clinical Insights

ODI is an inexpensive, easy to use self-report to measure a patient's perceived disability due to back pain. ODI is best used in an outpatient clinic or home health care. ODI takes less than 5 minutes to complete and was translated into multiple languages.

Although this questionnaire is easy to use, barriers to completion by the patient include visual impairments, lack of dexterity or inability to write, and cognition impairments. All of these would require the use of another person to read the questions and answer options as well as scribe their answers, which could lead to inaccurate responses. Another barrier to consider is the patient's health literacy level. The patient may not understand the questions and answers, which may lead to faulty scores. If the patient were to take the questionnaire by themselves despite these impairments, this might also lead to inaccurate responses and, therefore, can overestimate or underestimate the severity of their back pain.

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