Oswestry Disability Index

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The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is an index derived from the Oswestry Low Back Pain Questionnaire used by clinicians and researchers to quantify disability for low back pain.

This validated questionnaire was first published by Jeremy Fairbank et al. in Physiotherapy in 1980.[1] The current version was published in the journal Spine in 2000.[2] The Oswestry Disability Index is currently considered by many as the gold standard for measuring degree of disability and estimating quality of life in a person with low back pain.[3][4]

The self-completed questionnaire contains ten topics concerning intensity of pain, lifting, ability to care for oneself, ability to walk, ability to sit, sexual function, ability to stand, social life, sleep quality, and ability to travel.[2] Each topic category is followed by 6 statements describing different potential scenarios in the patient's life relating to the topic. The patient then checks the statement which most closely resembles their situation. Each question is scored on a scale of 0-5 with the first statement being zero and indicating the least amount of disability and the last statement is scored 5 indicating most severe disability.[2] The scores for all questions answered are summed, then multiplied by two to obtain the index (range 0 to 100). Zero is equated with no disability and 100 is the maximum disability possible.[2]


  • 0 to 20: Minimal disability
  • 21-40: Moderate Disability
  • 41-60: Severe Disability
  • 61-80: Crippling back pain
  • 81-100: These patients are either bed-bound or have an exaggeration of their symptoms.[2]


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