What are the risks and signs of back pain?

Test Your Knowledge

If you have back pain, you are not alone. At some point in life, nearly everyone has back pain that interferes with routine daily activities or recreation. Low back pain is a leading contributor to missed work.

Take this quiz from the National Institutes of Health to
measure how well you know the risks and signs of back pain.

1 Back pain is the second most common pain condition in the United States – only headache is more common.

That is correct.

The correct answer is TRUE.

In a three month period, about one-fourth of U.S. adults experience at least one day of back pain. It is one of society’s most common medical problems.

2 Back pain occurs more often in men.

That is correct.

The correct answer is FALSE.

Men and women are equally affected.

3 Most acute, or short-term, back pain results from trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis.

That is correct.

The correct answer is TRUE.

Back pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, housework or gardening, a sudden impact, or other stress on bones and tissues. Acute back pain generally lasts a few days or weeks.

4 Once back pain has persisted for one month, it is considered to be a chronic condition.

That is correct.

The correct answer is FALSE.

Pain that persists for more than three months is considered chronic. Chronic back pain is often progressive and the cause can be difficult to determine. This type of pain is less common than acute pain.

5 Those who are physically fit are more likely to experience back pain.

That is correct.

The correct answer is FALSE.

Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit, as a result of sedentary lifestyles. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise is good for the discs that cushion the vertebrae.

6 The risk of experiencing low back pain from disc disease or spinal degeneration increases with age.

That is correct.

The correct answer is TRUE.

Back pain occurs most often between ages 30 and 50, due in part to the aging process. As people age, bone strength, muscle elasticity, and tone tend to decrease. The discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae.

7 Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of developing low back pain and sciatica (pain radiating from the low back down the leg).

That is correct.

The correct answer is TRUE.

Although smoking may not directly cause back pain, it increases the risk of developing low back pain and sciatica, back pain that radiates to the hip and/or leg due to pressure on a nerve. Furthermore, smoking can slow healing, prolonging pain for people who have had back injuries, back surgery, or broken bones

Your results will be displayed here when all the questions have been answered.

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Nice job!

You know the risks of back pain. If you have back pain or think you might be at risk, talk to your doctor. Also, visit the NIH Pain Consortium’s website for more information on back pain.

Share this quiz with your family and friends to make sure they also know back pain risk factors and what they can do to lower their risk.

Stay informed.

You may need to brush up on your knowledge of the risk factors for back pain and how to reduce your risk. And, if you have back pain or think you might be at risk, talk to your doctor. Also, visit the NIH Pain Consortium’s website for more information on back pain.

Share this quiz with your family and friends to make sure they also know back pain risk factors and what they can do to lower their risk.

Time to get smart about back pain risks.

You should brush up on your knowledge of the risk factors for back pain and how to reduce your risk. And, if you have back pain or think you might be at risk, talk to your doctor. Also, visit the NIH Pain Consortium’s website for more information on back pain.

Share this quiz with your family and friends to make sure they also know back pain risk factors and what they can do to lower their risk.