You've probably been reading up on back pain—and getting plenty of advice from friends—ever since it became part of your life.

This complex structure of the spine makes it susceptible to injury and pain
Lower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Now it's time put your knowledge of this often-perplexing condition to the test.

  1. Which of the following can help promote a healthy back?
    1. Quit smoking; nicotine and tobacco can harm the back and jeopardize bone healing
    2. Lose weight if you're overweight
    3. Exercise to increase oxygen and blood flow to the back and spinal discs
    4. Cut back on or eliminate cola drinks, which can reduce bone density
    5. All of the above

Need a hint: Lifestyle and Diet Tips for Healthy Bones

  1. Lumbar herniated disc is most common in which of these age groups?
    1. Ages 20 to 35
    2. Ages 35 to 50
    3. Ages 50 to 70
    4. Ages 70 to 90

Need a hint: Lumbar Herniated Disc: What You Should Know

  1. What is the most common cause of lower back pain?
    1. A torn or pulled muscle and/or ligament
    2. An infection in the spine
    3. A tumor in the spine
    4. An autoimmune disease

Need a hint: Causes of Lower Back Pain

  1. What are the typical symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis?
    1. Pain in the legs with walking, and worse pain when walking downhill than uphill
    2. Little or no pain when resting
    3. Symptoms fluctuate over time
    4. Numbness or weakness that runs from the lower back into the buttocks and legs
    5. All of the above

Need a hint: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

  1. Which of these back conditions affect men more than women?
    1. Compression fracture. A bone in the spine breaks as a result of osteoporosis—thinning of the bones—causing sudden, intense pain.
    2. Degenerative spondylolisthesis. A lumbar (lower back) vertebrae moves forward over the one below it, which may cause pain in the lower back and legs.
    3. Ankylosing spondylitis. A form of arthritis that affects the joints of the spine, causing back pain and stiffness.
    4. Piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle in the buttocks spasms, irritating the sciatic nerve and triggering symptoms similar to sciatica.

Need a hint: 7 Back Pain Conditions That Mainly Affect Women

Use the answer key links or the Spine-health search function to learn more about all aspects of back pain.


  1. e. All of the above.
  2. b. Ages 35 to 50
  3. a. A torn or pulled muscle and/or ligament.
  4. e. All of the above
  5. c. Ankylosing spondylitis.

Learn more:

Non-Surgical Treatments for Lower Back Pain

Early Treatments for Lower Back Pain