5 January 2020 posted by Recovery Partners

What is Örebro and what is it used for?


The Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Questionnaire (OMPQ) is a questionnaire that screens patients who may have subacute or acute musculoskeletal pain levels. This identifies which candidates are at risk of delayed recovery. 

One of the ways that the OMPQ is considered valuable is its ability to identify workers with environmental and personal factors that may interfere with them not returning to work.  Once they are identified, strategies can be adopted to reduce the risk of prolonged disability and absenteeism from work. Rehabilitation providers like Recovery Partners will often complete this screening process as part of our initial assessment to ensure evidence-based solutions are subsequently adopted and an injured person’s recovery is best supported.

Details on the OMPQ

The OMPQ used to be called the Acute Low Back Pain Screening Questionnaire (ALBPSQ).  It is a self-administered questionnaire that is meant to help evaluate people who have regional back pain that impacts work performance.   It is also utilised for neck, shoulder, and back pain.  Indications that a worker should be given this questionnaire are taking repeated periods of sick leave or having been off work for a maximum of 12 weeks. 

The questionnaire has 21 questions regarding pain, perception of daily living activities and work, and behaviour that occurs in response to pain, beliefs and attitudes.  The success of the OMPQ is based on the theory that psychosocial risk factors play a major role in determining whether workers will not be able to return to work.  It has been acknowledged that there is a need for additional research in a greater variety of different settings and populations.

How is the OMPQ administered?

As mentioned earlier, the OMPQ is a self-administered test.  This means the worker completes this by himself or herself.  It needs to be carried out in a quiet environment without distractions or any assistance from others. 

Exploring the OMPQ

Questions on the OMPQ explore different facets of the pain itself and psychosocial elements.  Workers are asked where they have pain.  They can choose all applicable areas of the body listed, including neck, lower back, leg, shoulder, arm, upper back, and others.  It also asks how many days of work they have missed due to their pain over the last 18 months.  Other questions include how long they have had the pain, how they rate the pain they have experienced in the past week, how bad has their pain been over the last three months on average, and how frequently there have been pain episodes over the past three months.  Workers are asked whether their work is monotonous or heavy. 

Questions to do with psychosocial elements include asking how anxious or tense the worker has felt in the past week, how depressed they have felt over the past week, and how likely they think it is that their current level of pain will prove to be persistent.  The questionnaire also enquires whether physical activity leads to worsening of the pain, whether the worker can go for an hour’s walk, do light work for one hour, or do household chores or weekly shopping.  Workers are additionally asked about the quality of their sleep. 

Why is OMPQ beneficial?

Research has indicated that OMPQ can be a valuable tool in evaluating and helping make it more likely that workers will return to their jobs.


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Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Questionnaire (ÖMPQ), NSW Government and WorkCover New South Wales

“Explanatory Notes,” Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Questionnaire (ÖMPQ), NSW Government and WorkCover New South Wales

“What is Orebro and What is it Used For?” https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/58/6/447/1375462

“A systematic review of the predictive ability of the Orebro Musculoskeletal Pain Questionnaire,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18594447

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Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/