Describe the prevalence and natural history of lumbar disc herniations How do they differ from the prevalence and natural history of low back pain

The lifetime prevalence of a lumbar disc herniation is approximately 2%. The natural history of sciatica secondary to lumbar disc herniation is spontaneous improvement in the majority of cases. Among patients with radiculopathy secondary to lumbar disc herniation, approximately 10% to 25% (0.5% of the population) experience persistent symptoms. These statistics are in sharp contrast to low back pain, which has a lifetime prevalence of 60% to 80% in the adult population. Although the natural history of acute low back pain is favorable in the majority of patients, successful management of patients with chronic symptoms remains an enigma.

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