Japanese orthopaedic association back pain evaluation questionnaire (JOABPEQ) as an outcome measure for patients with low back pain: reference values in healthy volunteers

J Orthop Sci. 2015 Mar;20(2):264-80. doi: 10.1007/s00776-014-0693-1. Epub 2015 Feb 18.


Background: In 2007, the Japanese orthopaedic association back pain evaluation questionnaire (JOABPEQ) was established to overcome the limitations of the original JOA scoring system developed in 1986. Although this new self-administered questionnaire is a more accurate outcome measure for evaluating patients with low back pain, physicians were unable to as certain the exact status of a patient at a single time point because of a lack of reference values. This study aimed to establish the reference values of JOABPEQ in different age and gender groups using data obtained from healthy volunteers.

Methods: This study was conducted in 21 university hospitals and affiliated hospitals from October 2012 to July 2013. The JOABPEQ includes 25 questions that yield five domains to evaluate individuals with low back pain from five different perspectives. A total of 1,456 healthy volunteers (719 men, 737 women; age range, 20-89 years) answered the questionnaire. The differences in scores according to age and gender were examined by non-parametric tests.

Results: The JOABPEQ scores significantly decreased with age in the domains of lumbar spine dysfunction, gait disturbance, and social life dysfunction. In these three domains, the median scores approached the 100 possible points in individuals aged 20-70 for both genders. However, the median scores for lumbar spine dysfunction and social life dysfunction decreased to 83.0 and 65.0-78.0 points, respectively, in individuals in their 80 s and 70-80 s, respectively; and the scores for gait disturbance decreased to 93.0 and 71.0 points for males and females in their 80 s. Overall, the median scores for pain-related and psychological disorders were 100 and 60.0-72.0 points, respectively.

Conclusion: The reference values for JOABPEQ according to age and gender were established herein. Patients with low back pain should be evaluated with this new self-administered questionnaire taking these reference values into account.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Back Pain
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedics
  • Reference Values
  • Societies, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult