What causes your back pain? Get the diagnosis with discography

A discography is also called discogram, is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure that helps conceive through imaging test to conclude if the vertebral disc is the cause of pain

The spinal cord is divided by porous cushions like discs, the responsibility of the discs is to absorb shock for the spinal column and facilitate elasticity. Sometimes the inflammation is caused in the disc may cause nerve pinching and pain

The discography procedure is followed by injecting a dissimilar color into the middle of spinal disc with an X-ray guidance also during the procedure CT scan can be performed to keep the record of the disc injected

Why the procedure is performed?

The discography is commonly performed to diagnose the source of back pain and lead to abnormal disc therapy, the procedure is also carried out before a surgery to diagnose the problem discs, discography is an outpatient procedure


Initially you will be given a mild sedation through an intravenous line in your arm, however you ought to be awake during the entire discography to  convey any of the symptoms you might experience, medications including the antibiotics will be given to avoid nausea and any discomfort, a pillow can be taken to ensure that the patient lies in a comfortable position. During the whole procedure your heart rate and pulse will be monitored.

The area to be treated is cleaned with sterile liquid, and numbed with a local anesthetic. The physician will insert a needle passing through your skin straight to the  middle of the vertebral disc. Once the needle reached the center of the disc a dissimilar dye is injected and the needle is taken out.

The physician will ask you to communicate your  pain symptoms in terms of location, severity. If the disc injected is the cause of your pain, then you may feel the same pain as you experience on a regular basis, the incision is covered with a bandage with pressure to avoid any excessive bleeding

The procedure is examined by the image testing with a CT scan or an X-ray to evaluate the injected disc. If the dissimilar dye expands in the outer areas of the disc, it may be a sign that there is a gap in the disc. After the procedure you will be observed for half an hour. The procedure usually takes an hour to be complete

What are the benefits and risks?


The discography procedure is helpful in the diagnosis of the problem disc causing your back pain, it is minimally painful and carried in the guidance of  CT scan and X-ray


Discography is commonly safe procedure, however, in rare cases, complication might arise which include;

  • Infection in the disc injected
  • A Temporary aggravation of chronic pain of back
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Bleeding
  • Temporary numbness or weakness
  • Nerve damage