Low back pain is one of the most common causes of disability and affects up to 80% of the population at some time during their active life. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is the most commonly used outcome measure to help measure for pain and disability resulting from low back pain.
First published in 1980 and revised in 2000, the ODI has been widely used as a condition-specific outcome measure for patients with spinal disorders, and was developed for use in secondary care settings.
The ODI is considered by many as the benchmark for measuring degree of disability and estimating quality of life in a person with low back pain.
Spine Volume 25 – Issue 22
The ODI is a self-administered questionnaire divided into ten sections designed to assess limitations of various activities of daily living and reflecting the patient’s ability to manage their everyday life while dealing with their pain. The items include:
Each topic category is followed by 6 statements describing different potential scenarios in the patient’s life relating to the topic. The patient then checks the statement which most closely resembles their situation. Each question is scored on a scale of 0-5 with the first statement being zero and indicating the least amount of disability and the last statement is scored 5 indicating most severe disability.
The patient is asked to complete the ODI and answer based on the statement they feel applies to them. In clinical settings, it can be used at baseline and at intervals thereafter while treatment continues.
The questionnaire takes 3.5–5 min to complete and approximately 1 min to score. It has been delivered in many formats, including paper, telephone, SMS, and web-based.
Each of the ten items in the ODI has six statements from which patients are requested to select one. This allows scoring from 0-5 for each item, for example, looking at the first item.
Jeremy Fairbank was educated and trained at Cambridge University and St Thomas’ Hospital. He qualified MB.BChir from Cambridge University in 1972 and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FRCS) in 1977. He obtained an M.D. for a thesis on the facet joint in back pain in 1982 awarded by Cambridge University.
Jeremy’s training included two years as a Spinal Fellow in the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry (1998) where he published the Oswestry Disability Index which has become a worldwide standard for assessing back pain and the results of treatment. This was followed by four years as a Senior Registrar in the St Bartholomew’s Hospital Training Programme. In 1984 he was appointed Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon to the General Hospital and Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, and in 1989 he moved to Oxford.
Professor Fairbank is currently employed by the Oxford University Hospitals as Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with a special interest in spinal disorders. The vast majority of his work is devoted to treatment of disorders of spine, including fractures, tumours, infections, spinal deformities (scoliosis and kyphosis) and back pain. Jeremy has been a Professor of Spinal Surgery since 2006.