One of the most common patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) used to quantify disability related to lower back pain is the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Derived from the Oswestry Low Back Pain Questionnaire, ODI was first validated in 1980, while its most current version was introduced in 2000.

The ODI is comprised of 10 questions. The questionnaire asks patients about their ability to manage everyday life and covers intensity of pain, lifting, the ability to care for oneself, ability to walk, the ability to sit, sexual function, ability to stand, social life, sleep quality, and ability to travel. Answers are then scored on a 0-5 scale, zero meaning no disability.

The final score/index ranges from 0-100. A score of 0-20 reflects minimal disability, 21-40 moderate disability, 41-60 severe disability, 61-80 crippled, and 81-100 bed-bound. A minimal clinical difference has been evaluated across numerous types of spinal surgery and has been shown to vary significantly; however, it is generally agreed that 10-12 points result in meaningful patient improvement.

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Considered to be the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to low back functional outcome tools, ODI has been rigorously tested, and proven over and over again to be valid, reliable, and sensitive to change.


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