To verify if the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) and physical examination of the lumbar spine can identify workers with chronic or recurring low back pain, using health history for reference. Fifty office workers of both sexes, aged between 19 and 55 yr, were evaluated using a standardized physical examination and the NMQ, VAS and RDQ. Discriminant analysis was performed to determine the discriminant properties of these instruments. A higher success rate (94%) was observed in the model including only the NMQ and in the model including the NMQ and the physical examination. The lowest success rate (82%) was observed in the model including the NMQ, RDQ and VAS. The NMQ was able to detect subjects with chronic or recurring low back pain with 100% sensitivity and 88% specificity. The NMQ appears to be the best instrument for identifying subjects with chronic or recurring low back pain.
Thus, this self-reported questionnaire is suitable for screening workers for chronic or recurring low back pain in occupational settings.