If you suffer from back pain, the first thing your doctor will want to do is figure out where the pain is originating. Discography is a diagnostic procedure that is often ordered to determine if the pain in your neck or back is coming from one or more discs (the rubbery cushions that are located between each vertebrae). Discography, also called a discogram, helps KureSmart Pain Management identify which treatment to proceed with and on which discs.
How is a Discography Performed?
This procedure is safe and simple. You will need to remain awake during the procedure but sedated. This is important because the doctor will need to be able to communicate with your. It is performed with you lying on your stomach to allow access to your spine. We will constantly monitor your vital signs during the discography including your heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure to ensure your safety. We will prepare the injection site by thoroughly cleansing it with antiseptic solution. Because we use a small amount of local anesthetic, you should only experienced some pressure while we are injecting the x-ray dye. If you are experiencing more than usual pain, just let your doctor know so they can inject more local anesthetic.
During this diagnostic procedure, x-ray dye (x-ray contrast) is injected into the suspected discs of the spine. We use gentle pressure throughout the injections of dye into each disc. Then an x-ray (the discogram) is taken of the discs. The results of discogram will show our doctors if there are tears in the lining of the spine and help them plan surgery or treatment.
Which discs will be injected?
Based on your symptoms or MRI’s (if previously taken), we will determine which discs we feel might be the culprit to your pain. Each of those discs will be injected and a normal, healthy disc will be injected as well. This will serve as the reference point to your level of pain. When this disc is injected, you should not experience any pain. When a damaged or injured disc is injected with the dye, you will experience pain. After each injection, your doctor will ask you if you experience pain and if it is in the area of your initial pain. This and the discogram will help determine the origin of your pain.
Discograph: An Important Diagnostic Tool
Tears and cracks form on the wall of the spinal discs typically as a result of injury or age. This condition is called Internal Disc Disruption or Degenerative Disc Disease. Another type of condition is a Herniated Disc in which the wall of the disc is weakened and bulges out.
Back pain caused by a condition affecting the discs is often characterized by a deep, aching pain in the back, buttocks or thighs. Pain in these areas does not indicate a problem relating to the discs, however, as it could also be caused by pain stemming from the facet joints, sacroiliac joints or a combination of sources being felt at the same time.
A discography may be the best way for KureSmart Pain Management to diagnose back pain and determine if the cause is a damaged disc.
To learn more about the Discography procedure click here.