I am a physical therapist getting ready to join the Peace Corps. One of my jobs will be to treat patients in various places around the world with neck and back pain. Is there a standardized instrument to measure neck pain and disability that has been translated into different languages? I can speak English, Spanish, French, and a little bit of German.
You may want to take a look at the neck disability index (NDI). The NDI has been translated into several other languages. It is available in Dutch, French, Korean, Brazilian-Portugese, Swedish, Catalan, and Turkish.
It has been tested and found both valid and reliable when assessing pain-related disability. Many clinicians use this to formulate a treatment plan for neck pain patients. It helps identify specific problem areas such as physical function and cognitive function.
Personal care, lifting, work, driving, and recreation fall into the physical function category. Reading, concentrating, headache, and sleep problems come under the pain intensity affecting cognitive function.
There are several other instruments that can be used to measure pain, depression, and disability from neck and/or back problems. The Beck Depression Index (BDI) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) are two commonly used assessment tools.
The BDI is used measure symptoms of depression. It was first developed in English and then translated to Spanish. At the present time, there is only limited data available on the Spanish translation. The ODI is a questionnaire for rating the severity of back pain. It has been translated into at least nine other languages (other than English).