Discography is a diagnostic tool used to determine whether certain discs of the spine are the source of a patient’s neck or back pain. Low back pain affects approximately 80% of the general population at least sometime during their lifetime. It is also the 5th leading cause of physician visits, as well as the leading cause of work-related disability.
Discography is considered for patients who have disabling low back pain, neck pain, and arm or leg radiation pain when other conservative diagnostic methods and treatments have failed.
Before the procedure begins, your skin will be appropriately cleaned to decrease the risk of infection. A small needle with local anesthetic will then be injected into your skin to numb the area before a larger needle is inserted. A larger needle is then inserted through the anesthetized skin and is positioned near the outer layer of the disc. Fluoroscopy, real time X-ray, is used in order to assure proper placement of the needle. A contrast solution is injected into the disk and your response to the injection is observed at different locations. If pain is experienced that is similar to your chronic pain condition, then it is possible that your doctor has located the source of your pain. This process is typically repeated at two additional levels. The procedure generally takes about thirty minutes to an hour. Your pain physician may instruct you to go for a CT exam directly after the discogram to better localize contrast dye spread.
After the results from your discography are reviewed, your pain physician will devise a treatment plan that will increase your level of function as well as decrease or eliminate your pain. The doctor’s at Central Texas Pain Center are board certified in treating pain conditions like yours.