J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1993 Jan; 16(1): 14-8.
The relationship between the St. Thomas and Oswestry disability scores and the severity of low back pain.
Research Department, Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, Bournemouth, England.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between the two disability questionnaires and low back pain severity using the visual analog scale (VAS). DESIGN: One hundred sixty-two chiropractic patients with low back pain were interviewed using an interactive microcomputer system. The sources of data were the St. Thomas and Oswestry disability questionnaires for disability and a VAS for pain severity. All were inherent in the computer interview system. SETTING: The computer review system was set up in the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic outpatient clinic. PATIENTS, PARTICIPANTS: One hundred sixty-two consenting new patients from the general community suffering from low back pain who attended the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic outpatient clinic were asked to participate. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Main outcome measures were the St. Thomas and Oswestry disability questionnaires for disability and the VAS for low back pain severity. RESULTS: There was a moderate correlation between the scores from the St. Thomas and Oswestry disability questionnaires (r = .77, p < .0001). A low but significant correlation score was found when comparing the St. Thomas and Oswestry disability score with pain severity (0.38, p < .0001, and 0.47, p < .0001, respectively). CONCLUSION: The consequence of pain (disability) appears to have a weak relationship to pain severity. Despite the moderate correlation between the two disability questionnaires, it is suggested that they are not interchangeable.