Question:I'm working in a spine center with patients who have cervical spine (neck) disorders. Right now we are using the Short Form-36 survey to measure patients before and after treatment. Is there something more specific we could use for patients with neck problems?
Answer:The Short Form-36 (SF-36) is a survey given to many patients with a variety of health care problems. It measures a person's sense of his or her own overall health. It is a generic measure, as opposed to one that targets a specific age, disease, or treatment group.
The SF-36 includes eight different subscales of functional status. These eight areas are scored in two general sections: physical and mental. There is an even shorter survey form (the SF-12 Version). It has only one page and takes about two minutes to fill out.
A more complete evaluation of client function can be obtained. Look for a more disease-specific tool such as the Low-Back SF-36 Physical Functioning survey. Or for cervical spine patients, consider the Neck Disability Index (NDI).
The NDI measures the impact of spinal disorders on 10 different aspects of daily life. Personal care, level of activity, and recreational activities are just a few of the areas tested. The down side of the NDI is that it does not measure small changes in symptoms as a sign of improvement.
Finally, there is the Cervical Spine Outcomes Questionnaire (CSOQ). Studies show this is a reliable and valid tool. It is specific to the cervical spine, which is something you are looking for, and it is just as good as the SF-36 or NDI. It may even give you a more complete job or work-related picture than you have now.Richard L. Skolasky, MA, et al. Psychometric Properties of the Cervical Spine Outcomes Questionnaire and Its Relationship to Standard Assessment Tools Used in Spine Research. In The Spine Journal. March 2007. Vol. 7. No. 2. Pp. 174-179.
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