Functional Status and Disability Questionnaires: What Do They Assess?: A Systematic Review of Back-Specific Outcome Questionnaires

Section for Health Science, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Spine (Impact Factor: 2.3). 02/2005; 30(1):130-40.
Source: PubMed


A systematic literature review of outcome questionnaires designed for assessing functional status or disability in patients with low back pain.
To provide a comprehensive overview of all functioning/disability questionnaires used in recent years and to explore how the main concept(s) was described or defined in the original paper, the content or the domains of disability, and the measurement properties of the questionnaires.
A number of clinical tools designed for evaluating the functional status of patients with low back pain have been developed. Only a few have been reviewed earlier, and there has been little focus on the content reflected in the questionnaires.
Papers including questionnaires for assessing disability, function, activity limitations, or participation restrictions in adult patients with low back pain were searched in the MEDLINE and CINAHL databases for the period from January 1996 to January 2002. Two independent and blinded researchers read and selected abstracts and questionnaires. The content of the included questionnaires was classified according to World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. The measurement properties were analyzed according to recommended guidelines.
A total of 36 back-specific questionnaires were identified. When distinguishing among a bodily, personal, and social perspective of functioning, 4 main types of content were identified. Most of the outcome questionnaires had a mixed content reflecting various constructs such as pain and symptoms, sleep disturbances, psychological dysfunctions, physical impairments, and social functions. Nine questionnaires assessed solely activities of daily living. For one-third of the questionnaires, the measurement properties were reported in only the original study.
Although most questionnaires had their main focus on activity limitations, a considerable variation with respect to the main concept and content was found. Only a few of the questionnaires can be considered acceptably validated.

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    • "The focus on research in adult spinal problems has fostered a plethora of back-specific outcome questionnaires related to the adult working population [1]. This led to the recommendation of a core set of adult outcome measures for low back in 1998 [2] and for chronic pain conditions in 2005 [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Back pain in children is common and early onset of back pain has been shown to increase the risk of back pain significantly in adulthood. Consequently, preventive efforts must be targeted the young population but research relating to spinal problems in this age group is scarce. Focus has primarily been on the working age population, and therefore specific questionnaires to measure spinal pain and its consequences, specifically aimed at children and adolescents are absent. The purpose of this study was to develop a questionnaire for schoolchildren filling this gap. Methods The Young Spine Questionnaire (YSQ) was developed in three phases – a conceptualisation, development and testing phase. The conceptualisation phase followed the Wilson and Cleary model and included questions regarding spinal prevalence estimates, pain frequency and intensity, activity restrictions, care seeking behaviour and influence of parental back trouble. Items from existing questionnaires and the “Revised Faces Pain Scale” (rFPS) were included during the development phase. The testing phase consisted of a mixed quantitative and qualitative iterative method carried out in two pilot tests using 4th grade children and focusing on assessment of spinal area location and item validity. Results The testing phase resulted in omission of the pain drawings and the questions and answer categories were simplified in several questions. Agreement between the questionnaire prevalence estimates and the interviews ranged between 83.7% (cervical pain today) and 97.9% (thoracic pain today). To improve the understanding of the spinal boundaries we added bony landmarks to the spinal drawings after pilot test I. This resulted in an improved sense of spinal boundary location in pilot test II. Correlations between the rFPS and the interview pain score ranged between 0.67 (cervical spine) and 0.79 (lumbar spine). Conclusions The Young Spine Questionnaire contains questions that assess spinal pain and its consequences. The items have been tested for content understanding and agreement between questionnaire scores and interview findings among target respondents. These preliminary results suggest that the YSQ is feasible, has content validity and is a well understood questionnaire to be used in studies of children aged 9 to 11 years.
    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 06/2013; 14(1):185. DOI:10.1186/1471-2474-14-185 · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    • "Many measures have been developed to specifically quantify the limitations that low back pain places upon functional status. For example, in a 2004 systematic review Grotle and colleagues identified a total of 36 back-specific questionnaires [36]. The authors classified the content of the questionnaires based upon the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF); they found that while most of the questionnaires had a focus on activity limitations, there was a wide variation in their underlying constructs and content. "
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    ABSTRACT: While the importance and magnitude of the burden of low back pain upon the individual is well recognized, a systematic understanding of the impact of the condition on individuals is currently hampered by the lack of an organized understanding of what aspects of a person's life are affected and the lack of comprehensive measures for these effects. The aim of the present study was to develop a conceptual and measurement model of the overall burden of low back pain from the individual's perspective using a validity-driven approach. To define the breadth of low back pain burden we conducted three concept-mapping workshops to generate an item pool. Two face-to-face workshops (Australia) were conducted with people with low back pain and clinicians and policy-makers, respectively. A third workshop (USA) was held with international multidisciplinary experts. Multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis, participant input and thematic analyses organized participants' ideas into clusters of ideas that then informed the conceptual model. One hundred and ninety-nine statements were generated. Considerable overlap was observed between groups, and four major clusters were observed--Psychosocial, Physical, Treatment and Employment--each with between two and six subclusters. Content analysis revealed that elements of the Psychosocial cluster were sufficiently distinct to be split into Psychological and Social, and a further cluster of elements termed Positive Effects also emerged. Finally, a hypothesized structure was proposed with six domains and 16 subdomains. New domains not previously considered in the back pain field emerged for psychometric verification: loss of independence, worry about the future, and negative or discriminatory actions by others. Using a grounded approach, an explicit a priori and testable model of the overall burden of low back pain has been proposed that captures the full breadth of the burden experienced by patients and observed by experts.
    Arthritis research & therapy 09/2011; 13(5):R152. DOI:10.1186/ar3468 · 3.75 Impact Factor
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    • "Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire, the Oswestry Disability Index, and the Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale, based on the frequency these measures are used in LBP literature [12]. For longitudinal studies, data collected at baseline and the last follow-up were extracted if the 2 time points fell into different back pain durations (ie, acute/subacute versus chronic). "
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    ABSTRACT: It is often assumed that patients with pain-related disability due to low back pain (LBP) will have reduced physical activity levels, but recent studies have provided results that challenge this assumption. The aim of our systematic review was to examine the relationship between physical activity and disability in LBP. The literature search included 6 electronic databases and the reference list of relevant systematic reviews and studies to May 2010. To be included, studies had to measure both disability (eg, with the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire) and physical activity (eg, by accelerometry) in patients with non-specific LBP. Two independent reviewers screened search results and extracted data, and authors were contacted for additional data. Correlation coefficients were pooled using the random-effects model. The search identified 3213 records and 18 studies were eligible for inclusion. The pooled results showed a weak relationship between physical activity and disability in acute or subacute (<3months) LBP (r=-0.08, 95% confidence interval=-0.17 to 0.002), and a moderate and negative relationship in chronic (>3months) LBP (r=-0.33, 95% confidence interval=-0.51 to -0.15). That is, persons with acute or subacute LBP appear to vary in the levels of physical activity independent of their pain-related disability. Persons with chronic LBP with high levels of disability are also likely to have low levels of physical activity. Persons with acute or subacute back pain appear to vary in the levels of physical activity independent of disability. Persons with chronic back pain with high levels of disability will likely have low levels of physical activity.
    Pain 03/2011; 152(3):607-13. DOI:10.1016/j.pain.2010.11.034 · 5.21 Impact Factor
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