Herniated or Prolapsed Discs
The discs in your back act as a cushion between the vertebrae bones in your back. The “herniated” or “prolapsed” disc is responsible for less than 5% of back pain problems. If you suffer from this condition, you will clearly recall when it started. You will have triggered it by an activity (e.g. lifting). You will immediately have become aware of a sharp pain travelling down your leg.
What has happened is that the surface of your disc has torn. The fluid that it contains has exuded out of your disc. This resulted in inflammation in your back. A portion of you disc may even be compressing a nerve that travels down your leg. That in turn precipitated your severe leg pain.
If your pain is severe, then your first-step in treatment is to attend your doctor. You can get appropriate medication to help you deal with the severity of the pain. After a few weeks your symptoms will have hopefully settled down. At that point, physical therapy treatment can help you to rehabilitate your back to a normal state again.
However, your symptoms may not improve after a few weeks. At that point your doctor may refer you for the possibility of surgical intervention if there has been no reduction in the severity of your pain. The herniated disc diagnosis can then be confirmed by an MRI scan.