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Tools to measure the results of treatment for low back problems

I've been in treatment for a back problem for about six weeks now. I feel like I'm about the same, but my wife says she sees some progress. Is there any way to keep track of my results more objectively?

There are many tools available to measure the results of treatment for low back problems. Most of these are based on questions asked before and after treatment. Status of general
health is usually part of the survey. Identifying other health or physical problems is part of the process.

The most commonly used health screening tools in use are:

  • Short Form-36 Physical Functioning Scale
  • Oswestry Disability Scale
  • Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale

    There's a new one out, too, just for patients with low back pain. It combines questions from all three of these tools and appears to be a valid scale. It's easy-to-use and does a good job assessing patient's function. It's called the Low-Back SF-36 PF(18).

    Ask your doctor or Physical Therapist about using some type of before and after testing to mark your progress.

    Megan Davidson, BAppSci, et al. A Low Back-Specific Version of the SF-36 Physical Functioning Scale. In Spine. March 1, 2004. Vol. 29. No. 5. Pp. 586-594.