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J Rehabil Med. 2004 Jul;(44 Suppl):69-74.

ICF Core Sets for low back pain.

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  • 1ICF Research Branch, WHO FIC Collaborating Center (DIMDI), IMBK, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.



To report on the results of the consensus process integrating evidence from preliminary studies to develop the first version of a Comprehensive ICF Core Set and a Brief ICF Core Set for low back pain.


A formal decision-making and consensus process integrating evidence gathered from preliminary studies was followed. Preliminary studies included a Delphi exercise, a systematic review and an empirical data collection. After training in the ICF and based on these preliminary studies, relevant ICF categories were identified in a formal consensus process by international experts from different backgrounds.


The preliminary studies identified a set of 503 ICF categories at the second, third and fourth ICF levels with 211 categories on body functions, 47 on body structures, 190 on activities and participation and 55 on environmental factors. Eighteen experts from 15 different countries attended the consensus conference on low back pain. Altogether 78 second-level categories were included in the Comprehensive ICF Core Set with 19 categories from the component body functions, 5 from body structures, 29 from activities and participation and 25 from environmental factors. The Brief ICF Core Set included a total of 35 second-level categories with 10 on body functions, 3 on body structures, 12 on activities and participation and 10 on environmental factors.


A formal consensus process integrating evidence and expert opinion based on the ICF framework and classification led to the definition of ICF Core Sets for low back pain. Both the Comprehensive ICF Core Set and the Brief ICF Core Set were defined.

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