The Ultimate Relieving Back Pain Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

The back is a complex part of the body and, among its many functions, it acts as a support structure for the spine. Back pain has various causes and pain can range from a soreness to a debilitating pain that severely limits your ability to function.

Back pain is usually __ in nature.

Although back pain is usually muscular in nature, the cause can also be related to the bones of the spine.


How many bones are there in the spine?

There are 33 bones in the spine; 24 vertebrae, 5 sacral vertebrae fused together and 4 coccyx vertebrae fused together. The spine extends from the neck to the pelvis and includes four regions know as the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions.


What minerals do the bones get their strength from?

Bones primarily get their strength from calcium and phosphate.


What can cause the breakdown of bones?

Inactivity can cause the bones to become brittle. It is important to do weight-bearing activity in order to keep your bones strong.


If you sliced an intervertebral disk horizontally, what food would it resemble?

The intervertebral disks are made from tough rings of cartilage, a fibrous elastic material. If you cut a disc horizontally it would resemble an onion. In the center of the disk there is a thick, jellylike fluid which acts as a shock absorber for the spine.


What happens when there is a "slipped" disk?

A slipped disk refers to the leaking of fluid from the center of the intervertebral disk through some of the cartilage rings. When the rings tear to the point that there are only a few rings left intact it is called a bulging disk. When all the rings have torn completely and fluid leaks out it is called a ruptured or herniated disk. Bulging and herniated disks can press on the spinal cord and on the surrounding nerves causing back pain.


How much water are the intervertebral disks of a 20-year-old made up of?

About 70 percent of an intervertebral disk is made up of water when you are 20 years old. As you age, the disks slowly lose water and may dry out, forcing the spinal bones closer together. This may lead to pinching of nerves that run in between the vertebrae and can also cause the bones to rub against each other and wear out.


What is the main function of spinal ligaments?

Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that are somewhat elastic. Their main function in the spine is to allow for safe movement. They do this by being elastic enough to allow movement but their elasticity is limited enough that they will become taught and limit the movement of the spine within a safe range.


What causes muscle tightening?

Muscles contract and shorten when you move and lengthen and relax back into resting position. If muscles become fatigued they cannot relax properly and become tight. This may hold bones in the spine closer together causing pain, in addition to limiting your flexibility.


Where does the nervous system begin?

The nervous system begins in the brain. It branches out through the spinal cord through nerve roots which branch into smaller nerves that innervate the peripheries of the body.


What sort of signals are used to transfer messages through the nervous system?

Tiny electrical signals pass along the nervous system, transferring messages from the brain to the body and vice versa via the spinal cord.


In what position is the back most comfortable?

Lying down with the back's curve naturally aligned is the most comfortable position for the back.


How far forward is it safe to bend?

You should limit your forward bending to about 30 degrees.


What is the best thing to do if you have pulled or strained your back muscles?

Resting gives your back a chance to heal. Lie down on a firm surface and place pillows under your knees to relax the spine and under your neck for comfort. Remember that too much rest can be harmful to your back. After a couple of days' rest, start exercising slowly to help keep your muscles and bones strong.


How can you reduce local inflammation immediately after injuring your back?

Immediately after an injury occurs, blood rushes to the area to aid healing. However, this causes inflammation in the area and can add to the pain. Applying ice constricts the blood vessels and reduces inflammation.


Even though applying heat may feel better after an injury, how long should you avoid heat application for?

It is recommended to avoid applying heat to your back, including hot showers, heat pads or lotions that create heat, for at least 48 hours after the injury has occurred. This reduces swelling and inflammation. Instead, use ice or cold compresses once an hour for 48 hours post injury for no more than 15 minutes at a time.


How can you help to relax tight muscles?

Both stretching and a light massage help to relax muscles, opening blood vessels which bring nutrients to the muscles and remove waste from the muscles. It is a good idea to alternate the application of heat or cold with stretching.


What sort of activities should you avoid after injuring your back?

Avoid stressful and strenuous activities for your back including heavy lifting, twisting, bending and turning.


What else can you do to relieve back pain?

Over-the-counter analgesia can be an effective way to reduce back pain. But always make sure you check with your doctor which medications are safe for you to take. Couches may look comfortable, but they are unsupportive for your spine and promote poor posture, causing more damage to your back.


When should you see a doctor?

Generally you should wait two or three days before seeing a doctor. However, if after a few days there is no improvement you should see a doctor. If you lose bowel or bladder control or experience numbness, tingling, or other similar sensations that run down an arm or leg or around the chest, inform your doctor.


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