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Asking the Right Questions about Back Pain

When it comes to back pain, doctors need a place to start. Knowing how severe the pain is gives doctors useful information for treatment. A survey called the Dallas Pain Questionnaire  (DPQ) may be just the right tool to help doctors. It is a short series of questions that looks at back pain in adults who are still working. It shows how pain affects function and emotions.

Many studies now show the need to consider various components of chronic back pain, including pain intensity, feelings, and level of function. The DPQ looks at four areas of life, including daily activities, work, anxiety or depression, and social interest. The answers to these questions help doctors classify patients.

The DPQ divides patients into several groups. On one end is the group with minor difficulty. At the other end are those patients with significant chronic low back pain. It further points out patients with emotional distress.

A simple and practical tool like the DPQ is just what doctors need. It helps them find out what stage of chronic back pain a patient is in. The grouping of patients points out the workers who are seriously disabled by their pain. It guides the doctor in deciding who can return to work and who can't.


Anna Ozguler, MD, et al. Using the Dallas Pain Questionnaire to Classify Individuals With Low Back Pain in a Working Population. In Spine. August 15, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 16. Pp. 1783-1789.

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*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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