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Lower Spine News

Backache Index (BAI): New Tool for Measuring Treatment Success

Doctors, therapists, and nurses need a quick and easy tool to assess backache. A reliable and accurate measure of pain before and after treatment would be very helpful. In this study, physical therapists from Belgium test the Backache Index (BAI) for reliability and validity.

The BAI is based on a set of five movements in the standing position. Pain intensity is measured instead of spinal range of motion (ROM). A one-page form with drawings of each position is filled out. Each position is scored as follows:

  • 0 No irritation and full ROM
  • 1 Irritation but no pain at full ROM
  • 2 Pain but full ROM is possible
  • 3 Severe pain and reduced ROM

    The test was given to 75 back pain patients before and after physical therapy treatment. The results were compared with several other standard tests often given to back pain patients. Some of the more commonly known tests used included the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), the McGill Pain Questionnaire, and the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire (ODQ).

    The authors report the BAI has good reliability and validity. It is a good tool to measure overall restricted spinal movements in patients with low back pain. It can be used to show if treatment has been successful. It was not as useful in measuring changes in quality of life.

    Andre Farasyn, MSc, and Romain Meeusen, PhD. Validity of the New Backache Index (BAI) in Patients with Low Back Pain. In The Spine Journal. September/October 2006. Vol. 6. No. 5. Pp. 565-571.


    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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