Discography is a tool that is used to help diagnosis the source of your back pain. Low back pain is very common and most people will be affected with back pain at some point in their life. Discography is used to help diagnosis the cause of low back and neck pain when other tests do not reveal abnormalities consistent with the pain symptoms. It is used in patients who have failed conservative treatments and continue to have disabling back pain.
Between each vertebrae is a disc that acts as a cushion for the spine. The discs are soft and made of a gelatinous material that has a tendency to bulge and tear if they are placed under stress. The disc can then leak causing irritation to the nerves. If you have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease this means that over the years your discs have thinned and are wearing out.
Your back will be cleaned to help prevent infection. A small needle will then be used to inject local anesthetic to numb the skin. Under X-ray your discs will be identified and a needle will be placed into the disc. This is done under live X-ray to assure the proper placement of the needle. Next the disc is injected with a contrast solution. During this part of the procedure if pain is experienced that is similar to your back pain then it is possible that your doctor has identified the painful disc. This procedure might be repeated on other disks. After the procedure a CT scan is usually performed to take a further and more detailed look at the discs with the contrast in them.
As with all medical procedures there are risks. Uncommon risks of this procedure include: infection, hematoma, headache, increased pain and infection in the disc. Discography is typically considered a safe procedure with a very low incidence of complications. The physicians performing this procedure at KC Pain are highly trained
With the information that is received from discography a treatment plan will be formulated by your physician at KC Pain to help decrease your pain and improve your functioning.