Low back pain is a vexing medical and personal problem. Almost everyone has to deal with it sooner or later. Low back pain can interfere with almost every aspect of daily living and causes more days lost from work than any other malady except the common cold. Low back pain can make finding a comfortable sleeping or sitting position impossible, and due to the central position of the lower back and its key mechanical role in supporting and enabling movement, resting the painful spine during waking hours is very difficult.
A clear physical evaluation and focused goals are imperative when solving enigmatic health problems such as low back pain. At Physical Therapy of Los Gatos, evaluation for low back pain includes objective measurement of the patient’s function, mobility of the spine, neurological assessment, dynamic strength, flexibility, and gait analysis. In our experience, the outcome of physical therapy that begins with a comprehensive evaluation is more likely to be successful than one that passes over the opportunity to use up-to-date diagnostic instrumentation and methods for precise patient evaluation.
One of many tools and methods we use to evaluate low back pain is the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire. Originally published in 1980, the Oswestry questionnaire measures how one’s low back pain affects a variety of daily activities. Patients usually complete the questionnaire in less than five minutes. The answers patients select from the multiple-choice questionnaire provide useful information about the behavior, mechanical cause, and severity of the patient’s low back pain. This information, combined with other responses and measures used in our evaluation, help us to design a personalized, effective course of treatment, and prognosticate the duration of treatment.
If you’d like to take the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire, you can pick up a copy at Physical Therapy of Los Gatos, or call to have us fax or mail it to you, or download the questionnaire. You can find our location and contact information near the top right-hand corner of this web page. Afterwards, we’ll be happy to discuss the results with you and, depending on your score, discuss our recommendations for more precise evaluation of your low back pain.