Back Health Survey: Am I At Risk For Low Back Pain?

1. How frequently do you perform moderate-high intensity exercise?
a. 5-7x/week
b. 2-4x/week
c. 1x/1-2 weeks
d. rarely

2. How many hours/day do you sit on most days of the week?
a. <4 hours/day
b. 4-6 hours/day
c. 7-10 hours/day
d. >10 hours/day

3. How often do you perform back strengthening exercise or core strengthening?
a. >3x/week
b. 1-2x/week
c. occasionally
d. what do you mean by back or core strengthening exercise?

4. What is your usual sitting posture?
a. upright, with extra lumbar support (lumbar roll, rolled towel, etc)
b. upright, without lumbar support (decent chair but no additional lumbar roll or cushion)
c. mildly slumped
d. severely slumped or rounded

5. What is your present weight status?
a. ideal body weight
b. mildly overweight
c. moderately overweight
d. severely overweight

6. How many episodes of major low back pain have you had in your lifetime (enough to limit your usual functional activities)?
a. no major episodes
b. 1 major episode or injury
c. 2-3 episodes
d. >3 episodes

7. How far down did your low back pain symptoms radiate?
a. no major low back pain in my past
b. low back only
c. low back and buttock(s)
d. down to thigh (not below knee)
e. down below the knee

8. How did your low back pain resolve?
a. no major low back pain in my past
b. completely resolved
c. partially resolved
d. never resolved

9. How often do you practice proper body mechanics during daily activities (such as squatting instead of bending, avoiding twisting, and good lifting techniques)?
a. All the time; with both difficult and easy tasks
b. Most of the time, especially difficult tasks
c. Sometimes
d. Rarely

10. How much heavy lifting do you regularly perform?
a. occasionally-rarely. Always with good technique
b. frequently. Always with good technique
c. occasionally-rarely. Without considering technique
d. frequently. Without considering technique

11. How often do you participate in high risk sports/activities (such as skiing, skydiving, skateboarding, 4-wheeling, etc)?
a. rarely and not likely to in the future
b. once every few years
c. multiple times per year
d. very frequently

12. How often do you perform standing forward bending exercises (such as touching the toes)?
a. never. not since elementary school calisthenics
b. occasionally, when I need to stretch my back
c. frequently, during my usual workouts
d. daily or multiple times daily

Score: Count your score by assigning points to each letter answer.
a: 0 points
b: 1 point
c: 2 points
d: 3 points
e: 4 points

>30 points: Get to know your Physical Therapist and spine surgeon. You will be seeing us a lot.
20-30 points: Moderate risk unless you make major changes immediately.
13-20 points: Mild-moderate risk. Consider ways to improve!
6-12 points: Mild risk. But beware and don’t become complacent in these areas.
0-6 points: You have a healthy back and are at low risk as long as you continue good habits!

Post your answer in the comments section!

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I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.

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