Outcomes measurement for patients with low back pain

Orthop Nurs. 2005 Jan-Feb;24(1):14-24. doi: 10.1097/00006416-200501000-00007.


Outcomes tracking provides a systematic method of monitoring treatment effectiveness and efficiency. A familiarity with outcome measures for the patient with low back pain is very important for clinicians working in orthopaedic settings, where patients with lumbar pain are prevalent. The clinician must be able to evaluate and choose appropriate measurement tools, and understand the clinical meaning of measurements to successfully employ these instruments. The purposes of this article are to review measurement instruments and to offer practical guidelines for selection and use of outcome measures for this population. The reliability, validity, sensitivity to change, and utility of common outcome measures are discussed. An overview of generic, disease-specific, and patient-specific tools is provided, with specific commentary on the use of the SF-36, SF-12, Oswestry, Roland Morris, and patient-specific tools. Practical guidelines for utilizing outcome measures in clinical practice and the overall benefits of outcomes tracking are highlighted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Employment
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Low Back Pain / psychology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Nursing Assessment / organization & administration
  • Orthopedic Nursing
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*