This LBP Roland Morris disability questionnaire calculator comprises of on one of the most used rating scales for lower back pain and two of its newer versions. You can read more about each scale and its interpretation below the form.

Please select the sentences that describe you.

Please select the sentences that describe you.

Please select the sentences that describe you.

How does this LBP Roland Morris disability questionnaire calculator work?

This is a health tool that comprises of three of the main versions of the Roland Morris disability questionnaire, the original one and two modified scoring systems. These belong to a series of numerous lower back pain severity rating scales that try to assess the functional status of patients suffering from this kind of disability.

Each is a self report questionnaire (self administering) that the patient or subject is asked to complete and then a score is given according to the choices of answers. Every scale has a rating score system showing the meaning of the lowest and the highest scores.

This LBP Roland Morris disability questionnaire calculator has three tabs, the first one presenting the original scale, the second one the RDQ-23 scale while the third tab focuses on the RDQ-18 scale.

Each of the tabs can be used independently and provides a score according to its own guidelines. The differences between these systems are explained below.

The Roland–Morris disability questionnaire

The original version has been published in 1983 with a review in 2000. There are 24 items with different variables scores, at each the patient needs to tick or answer with yes or no. Physical functions such as walking, bending over, sitting, lying down are assessed as well with other daily activities.

In some questionnaires there are questions to be answered while others simply ask the subject to tick the situations best applying. Yes answers are awarded 1 point while answers of no are awarded 0 points.

It is often recommended for the patient to complete not applicable at the questions they cannot answer with either yes or no so the clinician has a better assessment but these answers will also be scored 0.

The highest score obtainable in this version is 24 meaning severe or maximum disability and the lowest is 0, representing no disability. Research has also shown that patients with scores under 4 and over 20 do not show significant change in time.


The 23 item version focuses on the variables describing pain or sciatica and invites the patient to check the sentences that apply in his or her current situation.

Five of the original items have been removed: Because of my back, I lie down to rest more often, Because of my back, I try to get other people to do things for me, My appetite is not very good because of my back, Because of my back pain, I get dressed with help from someone else and I sit down for most of the day because of my back. These have been replaced with four other variables considered more suitable to the scoring’s purpose.

Each item, be it a sentence to tick or a question with yes or no is scored either 0 or 1 point. The total result ranges from 0, meaning no disability to 23, meaning severe disability.


This 18 item version is a shorter one that focuses more on the impairment back pain brings in the subjects life and the things that he or she normally did and now is incapable of doing. The patient should be asked to consider the current position and capacity while going through the questions.

By comparison to the original one, items 2, 15, 17, 19, 20 and 24 are deleted but the scoring scheme is maintained.

Often the questionnaire simply asks the patient to tick the situation that describes them, leaving the assessor to consider the un-ticked questions as no, implying 0 points. This particular system scoring ranges from 0, no disability to 18 meaning maximum disability.

Use of pain scales in lower back pain

Low back pain (LBP) is a well known symptom, affecting more than 80% of general population and is considered to be the most frequent disability in people under 45 and of the main occurrences in orthopaedic consultations.

There are currently around 28 pain scoring systems available for clinicians and researchers to assess lower back function and every one of them evaluates pain using specific variables that aim to reveal back function and lifestyle. They are used as primary tool and then also in order to verify any evolution at a certain amount of time.


1) Roland M, Morris R. (1983) A study of the natural history of back pain. Part I: development of a reliable and sensitive measure of disability in low-back pain. Spine (Phila Pa 1976); 8(2):141-4.

2) Roland M, Fairbank J. (2000) The Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire and the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire. Spine (Phila Pa 1976; 25(24):3115-24.

3) RDQ-23: Patrick DL, Deyo RA, Atlas SJ, Singer DE, Chapin A, Keller RB. (1995) Assessing health-related quality of life in patients with sciatica. Spine (Phila Pa 1976); 20(17):1899-908

4) RDQ-18: Stratford PW, Binkley JM. (1997) Measurement properties of the RM-18. A modified version of the Roland-Morris Disability Scale. Spine (Phila Pa 1976); 22(20):2416-21.

5) Longo UG, Loppini M, Denaro L, Maffulli N, Denaro V. (2010) Rating scales for low back pain. Br Med Bull; 94:81-144.

06 Aug, 2015