The Ultimate Causes of Back Pain Quiz

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

The Ultimate Causes of Back Pain Quiz
Image: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Back pain can have many causes. They range from wear-and-tear to accidents or lifestyle habits that make the back susceptible to injury. Symptoms can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Take this quiz to learn about some of the causes of back pain, their presentation and treatment.
When do symptoms of "failed back" syndrome occur?
after lifting a heavy object
after surgery
The symptoms of failed back syndrome appear after surgery if a nerve was accidently cut or damaged. Symptoms can include diffuse, dull and achy pain that radiates into the hips, buttocks and thighs.
after an MRI

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What is radiculopathy?
pain from a scarred nerve
A scarred nerve root can make the nerve overactive, causing pain known as radiculopathy.
someone who exaggerates their pain
phantom pain

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Which is the longest and widest nerve in the body?
the trigeminal nerve
the femoral nerve
the sciatic nerve
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body. It innervates the back of the leg from the hip to the toes.

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Which intervertebral disks are most frequently injured?
L4 and L5
The sciatic nerve stems from the area near the L4 and L5 intervertebral disks, which are the two disks most frequently injured. When injured, the discs bulge and may make contact with the nerves around them, causing pain.
C3 and C4
S1 and S2

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Where are the kidneys located?
below the hips
above the hips
The kidneys are located at the back and sides of the body, above the hips. Kidney pain comes from the kidneys but is often felt in the back in the area that the kidneys lie.
in the pelvis

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What is a sign that the source of back pain is from the kidneys?
The pain is no different when you press on the kidney area.
The pain lingers for a long time.
The pain goes away when the infection is cured.
Kidney pain generally goes away once the infection is cured or the stone is passed. Pain coming from the kidneys will be tender to touch and may also present with pain during urination, fever, chills and blood in the urine. Back pain usually lingers, but is not usually worsened by pressing over the sore area.

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What is the desired outcome following an injury?
that the body will heal stronger than it was before
Following an injury the body should heal stronger than it was before, in order to prevent further injury. The key to healing is that the body should be able to supply enough blood to the injured area to promote healing.
that scarring should develop
that healing should take a long time to occur

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How does smoking affect back pain?
It reduces blood flow to the spine.
Smoking causes atherosclerosis, which is when plaques build up inside blood vessels, decreasing blood supply through those vessels. Blood is supplied to the spine through many small blood vessels which get blocked by smoking and are unable to supply the necessary amount of blood required for proper healing.
It opens up the blood vessels in the spine.
It causes you to cough which may hurt your back.

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What aspect of bone growth is inhibited by nicotine?
calcium
osteoblasts
Osteoblasts are specialized cells that build bone tissue. Nicotine inhibits osteoblasts, leaving the spine with a reduced ability to rebuild itself.
osteoblasts

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Why are smokers more sensitive to pain?
Smoking inhibits pain reducing hormones.
Smoking inhibits hormones and chemicals that help the body deal with pain, making smokers more sensitive to pain.
Smokers are stressed which makes them pain sensitive.
Smoking causes painful lung blisters which are hard to deal with.

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What part of the nervous system is involved with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?
the spinal cord
the parasympathetic system
the sympathetic system
CRPS affects the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for functions including heart rate, sweating, skin temperature changes and blood pressure. CRPS can be a very difficult disease to diagnose as symptoms vary and sometimes only a couple of symptoms appear.

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What is the method of treatment for CRPS?
injections
A series of injections is given to treat CRPS. The earlier the treatment, the better the chances of success.
tablets
creams

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What other disease are the medications used in CRPS also used for?
anemia
hypertension
Blood pressure medications affect the sympathetic nervous system and are also used to treat CRPS.
diabetes

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What is the most common cause of pain as a result of diabetes?
necrosis
nephropathy
neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is a common cause of pain in diabetes. Diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels that feed the delicate nerves in the peripheries, causing a lot of neuropathic pain.

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Which of the following clothes can be uncomfortable for diabetics?
gloves
Diabetics suffer from what is known as "stocking and glove" syndrome. Due to the nerve damage in their peripheries where the delicate nerves sit, diabetics often find it painful to wear gloves and socks.
shirts
hats

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People with fibromyalgia have been found to have clumps within their muscles. What do these clumps feel like?
jello
Rice Krispies
In 1990 doctors at the American College of Rheumatology came up with a criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia. To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, patients have to show clear signs of muscle clumps, which feel somewhat like rubbery Rice Krispies, in 11 out of 18 identified spots on the body.
Play Dough

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Which virus does chicken pox arise from?
tuberculosis
polio
chicken pox
Shingles is a form of the chicken pox virus, a member of the herpes family but different to the virus that cause genital herpes. Once you have had the chicken pox, the virus remains in the body but is usually inactive.

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What triggers the dormant chicken pox virus to develop into shingles?
a week immune system
Shingles can erupt due to a short weakening of the immune system as a result of illness or even stress. It is treated by treating the virus with an anti-viral drug and by treating the nerve pain with anti-convulsants.
catching the virus from someone
poor hygiene

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What is captured on an MRI that is not captured on a spinal X-ray?
bone cracks
spinal structure
cartilage damage
An MRI is able to capture damage to cartilage, which cannot be seen on an X-ray.

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A discogram is a type of X-ray used to determine disk damage. What is used to enable the radiographer to see the disks?
contrast dye
A discogram involves a contrast dye being injected into a spinal disk using a needle. An X-ray is then taken to see if the disk is bulging or ruptured. Under X-ray, if damage is found, fluid can be injected back into the disk to maintain pressure in the disk.
a special frequency of X-ray
a special gown

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You Got:
/20
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

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