LBP Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire

Rates lower back pain based on the original RDQ, RDQ-23 and RDQ-18.

You can find more information about each of the scales in the text below the calculator.

The LBP Roland Morris disability questionnaire is a rating system for lower back pain.

There are three questionnaires: the original, the 23-item, respectively the 18-item RDQ (press the corresponding tab to use either).

The original version of the LBP questionnaire was created in 1983 by Roland and Morris and was later reviewed in 2000.

Neither of the questionnaire versions has disability severity cut offs and the general rule is that the higher the score (out of 24, 23 and 18), the higher the impairment caused by lower back pain.


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About the LBP disability questionnaires

This is a series of three questionnaires which belong to the numerous lower back pain severity rating scales that assess how functional patients suffering from LBP are.

All questionnaires are self report and are scored in reference to the highest and lowest score. There is no direct correlation established between the three versions, thus, they are to be used independently.

It was found that LBP affects more than 80% of general population and is the number one disability cause in patients under 45.

Such disability scales are used to evaluate function and lifestyle changes but also to monitor the patient’s evolution in time.


The original RDQ

The original version of the LBP questionnaire was created in 1983 by Roland and Morris and was later reviewed in 2000.

The questionnaire is either presented as a list of questions with Yes or No, or as a list of items where the patient ticks the states they agree with or that refer to their condition.

Physical functions such as walking, bending over, sitting or lying down are evaluated in the light of lower back pain.

The highest possible score in the RDQ is 24, which means that the patient suffers from severe disability.

It was found that patients at the extremity (scoring below 4 or above 20) do not generally show significant changes in time.



This is the 23-item version of the score. This questionnaire focuses on describing pain or sciatica and the subject is asked to review the questions in the light of the symptoms and signs they experience.

This version replaces five of the original item with four other variables, more suitable to the scoring’s purpose:

Items replaced are:

■ 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;

■ I sit down for most of the day because of my back.

These have been replaced with:

■ Because of my back problem, my sexual activity is decreased.

■ I keep rubbing or holding areas of my body that hurt or are uncomfortable.

■ Because of my back problem, I am doing less of the daily work around the house than I would usually do.

■ I often express concern to other people over what might be happening to my health.

The total score varies from 0 to 23, where the higher the score, the greater the severity of the lower back pain disability.



This is the shortest of the versions and seems to focus more on the level of impairment to normal life and daily activities, that back pain brings.

The recommendation for the patient is to consider their situation at the time of the test while going through the questions.

This version lacks items 2, 15, 17, 19, 20 and 24 from the original score.

The final result varies from 0 to 18, where 18 means maximum disability.


Original source

Roland, M. and Morris, R. 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). 1983; 8(2): 141-144.

Other references

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

2. Macedo LG, Maher CG, Latimer J, Hancock MJ, Machado LA, McAuley JH. Responsiveness of the 24-, 18- and 11-item versions of the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. Eur Spine J. 2011; 20(3):458-63.

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

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

Specialty: Disability

Objective: Evaluation

Type: Questionnaire

No. Of Items: 24

Year Of Study: 1983

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: May 30, 2017

Last Checked: May 30, 2017

Next Review: May 30, 2023