The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship of two disability questionnaires, the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (Oswestry) and the Medical Outcome Study Short Form-36 (SF-36), and a standardized physical examination and diagnostic classification system. The physical examination was performed by the evaluating therapists from the clinic and classification was determined by the evaluating therapists and the investigators to ensure correct subject placement into treatment Stages la, lb, or II. Data collection occurred at an outpatient physical therapy clinic in a metropolitan area health maintenance organization, where a sample of 221 subjects with low back pain were obtained. Once the questionnaires were completed by the subjects, the ten items on the Oswestry and the eight items on the SF-36 were then scored by the investigators. Step-wise discriminent analysis was utilized to determine which items from the two self reporting questionnaires could predict the physical therapist assigned treatment classification. When classifying into Stage I versus Stage II, correct treatment classification could be predicted 83.6% of the time using four sub-scores (pain intensity. general health, role-physical, and sleeping ). The predictability, utilizing all the sub-scores. was 87.9%. When classifying into category lb versus la and II, classification into Stage lb with the sub-scores of pain intensity and traveling had a 92.9% predictability rate.

Key Words: low back pain, assessment, Oswestry, SF-36, treatment classification, subjective exams.

LLU Discipline

Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy


School of Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Edd J. Ashley

Second Advisor

Grenith J. Zimmerman

Third Advisor

Joseph Godges

Fourth Advisor

James Syms

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Owestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnire; Medical Outcome Study Short Form-36; Questionnaires -- diagnostic use; Physical Examination -- methods; Treatment Outcome; Treatment -- classification; Physical Therapy.



Page Count

v; 25

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives