Lumbago (low-back pain) and radiculopathy or sciatica (leg pain) are very frequent problems and the second most common reason for visiting a doctor. It has been estimated that 60–90% of the population experience such symptoms at least once in their lives, whereas radiculopathy accounts for only 1% of back pain, and 1–3% of patients are diagnosed with lumbar disc herniation.
In advanced degenerative changes of the lumbar spine, the inner material bulges through the outer lining of cartilage and puts pressure on the spinal nerves. Patients suffering from disc herniation most often report pain in the lower back and in the leg, along with tingling, numbness and other unpleasant sensations in the leg. The great majority of lumbar disc herniations affect the spine at the L4–L5 or L5–S1 level.