A patient-specific approach for measuring functional status in low back pain

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999 Mar-Apr;22(3):144-8. doi: 10.1016/s0161-4754(99)70127-2.


Background: Activities and their importance for daily living vary widely between patients. Patient-specific measurement of functional status means that the evaluation is focused on activities that an individual patient selected as main complaints.

Objective: To develop and to evaluate a patient-specific approach for measuring functional status in low back pain.

Study design: A cohort of 150 patients was measured at baseline and 12 weeks later.

Methods: The feasibility of the patient-specific approach was evaluated in patients with nonspecific low back pain. We used effect size statistics to evaluate responsiveness in terms of sensitivity to change and specificity to change.

Results: The selection procedure for the main complaint was feasible but labor intensive. The patient-specific approach was able to detect changes in complaints that were highly relevant for the patients. The patient-specific approach appeared to be more sensitive to change but less specific to change compared with other instruments.

Conclusions: On the basis of this study it would be valuable to apply the patient-specific approach in future studies, also with the aim of further evaluation. In the meantime a number of practical problems of the method need to be resolved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires