Using Discography to Evaluate Back Pain

If “oh, my aching back” is an all too familiar refrain you hear yourself saying throughout the day, it can be beneficial to explore undergoing a discography procedure at the Pain & Spine Institute to uncover the cause of the problem.

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What is Discography?

Discography, also known as discogram, is a diagnostic test that examines back pain to determine if there are one or more abnormal discs in the spinal cord that are causing chronic pain. The disc is an essential part of the spinal column, allowing for motion and bearing weight. But if that disc becomes damaged and suffers nerve trauma, fluid may leak out and cause the sensation of pain.

Doctor looking at a discogram

How is Discography Performed?

This diagnostic test takes place at the Pain & Spine Institute, with the patient comfortably lying on their stomach as a medication to relax the nerve is administered through an intravenous needle. You are conscious throughout this procedure in order to give the doctor valuable feedback. The doctor then uses a fluoroscope to locate the injured disc in question, with a guide needle helping to pressurize and inject dye into any disc suspected of being abnormal.

Each disc in question is tested in this manner as you provide feedback as to whether you are feeling either pain or pressure in that disc. A fluoroscopic machine takes a picture after each disc has been tested. The final step in this procedure is a CT scan that produces more images of the injured disc or discs.

Is a Discography Painful?

The level of discomfort experienced varies from patient to patient, but any pain felt is an important indicator that helps the doctor better understand if a particular disc is the cause of back pain. This procedure takes less than 60 minutes to perform, with most patients experiencing some soreness following. This can be alleviated at home with the application of an ice pack and taking over the counter pain medications containing ibuprophen or acetaminophen.

discography - man smiling

What are the Benefits of Discography?

This diagnostic procedure has proven extremely helpful in determining the cause of back pain when such steps as modified activity, physical therapy and medication have not proven successful at relieving ongoing pain. Scheduling a consultation with one of the caring medical professionals at Pain & Spine Institute regarding this valuable diagnostic procedure can prove very beneficial at uncovering the right course of treatment to eliminate your chronic back when caused by abnormal or torn discs.

To learn more about Discography and pain management contact the Pain & Spine Institute of Joliet, Ill., at 1-888-362-7472 or 815-729-0700.

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