Oswestry Disability Index (ODI)

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One of the most common patient-reported outcome measures used by clinicians and researchers to quantify disability related to low back pain is the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI).

See also: Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (English)

The ODI is an index derived from the Oswestry Low Back Pain Questionnaire. The first version of this validated measure was published in 1980, and the most current version was released in 2000.

The ODI is comprised of 10 questions that ask patients about their ability to manage everyday life, and covers 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. Each question contains 6 statements that correlate to a score of 0 through 5, where the patient is to choose the statement that best matches their ability. To obtain the index, the scores of all questions are summed and then multiplied by two.

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. 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 results in meaningful patient improvement.

The Oswestry Disability Index is considered the gold standard when it comes to low back functional outcome measures. Along with only taking between 3-6 minutes to complete, it has been rigorously tested, and proven over and over again to be valid, reliable, and sensitive to change.

Use the following EVALUATION FORM to evaluate your patient and PRINT THE FORM when the evaluation is completed.


Original Literature:

  • J.C. T. Fairbank, J. Couper, and J. P. O’Brien. “The Oswestry low back pain disability questionnaire.” Physiotherapy 66 (1980): 271-273.

Additional Literature:

  • Davidson, Megan, and Jennifer L. Keating. “A comparison of five low back disability questionnaires: reliability and responsiveness.” Physical therapy 82.1 (2002): 8-24.
  • Fairbank, Jeremy CT, and Paul B. Pynsent. “The Oswestry disability index.” Spine 25.22 (2000): 2940-2953

Official webpage


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