Whether you’re currently experiencing lower back pain, or if you’re simply looking for information to share with your friends and family, our four question quiz can help get anyone up to speed on the basics of lower back pain:
Which of the following lower back pain symptoms require immediate medical attention?
- Fever and chills
- Recent weight loss with no clear explanation
- Significant weakness in your legs
- Sudden bowel and/or bladder incontinence
- Acute and unremitting abdominal pain
Answer: All of the above.
It’s important to note that most instances of lower back pain don’t require immediate care. But if you have any of the above symptoms, seek immediate medical attention, whereupon a doctor will look for possible causes of your pain—such as a spinal infection, tumor, or fracture.
Which of the following is not a common cause of lower back pain in adults 30 to 60 years of age?
- Muscle strain
- Lumbar herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Sacroiliac joint disease
- Facet joint osteoarthritis
Facet joint osteoarthritis is a common cause of lower back pain in adults over 60 years of age. Sometimes referred to as degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine, facet joint osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that develops over a long period of time. The breakdown of the cartilage between the facet joints in your spine caused by the condition can lead to chronic lower back pain.
Which of the following matches the description of axial lower back pain?
- This type of pain is typically confined to your lower back and doesn’t reach your buttocks or legs. Also referred to as mechanical pain, it can be described in a number of ways—such as sharp or dull. A muscle strain is a common cause of this type of pain, and it usually resolves in 6 to 12 weeks.
- Typically described as a deep and searing pain, this type of pain follows the path of a nerve into your arm or leg and may be accompanied by numbness or weakness. Caused by an underlying condition that compresses your sciatic nerve roots, this pain is usually more severe in your leg than in your back.
- Often characterized as dull and achy, this type of lower back pain frequently radiates into your groin, buttock and upper thigh—but rarely below your knee.
Option b is called lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica), and option c is described as referred pain. Correctly classifying your pain is an important part of determining the correct treatment plan for your lower back pain.
True or False: Lower back pain typically requires surgical intervention?
Most cases of lower back pain get better within six weeks and don’t require surgery. The treatment plan for your lower back pain depends upon factors like the duration and severity of your pain—and may include rest, heat and/or cold therapy, and low-impact aerobic exercise.
Did you get all the answers correct? Regardless of your score, we hope all of the above information will help you better communicate with your doctors and loved ones about your lower back pain.