Discography (Lumbar)

Stop Your Back Pain At The Source

What is it?

A lumbar discography, also known as a discogram, is an imaging test that is used to pinpoint the source of back pain. A discography can be used in surgical planning and to diagnose discogenic pain, disc problems/discogenic disease, or degenerative/herniated discs. During this procedure, a doctor will inject dye into the center of one or more spinal discs, which are sponge-like cushions between the vertebrae (bones) of the spinal column. The dye allows the doctor to observe any cracks or other abnormalities in the spinal discs, which helps to determine if an irregular disc is causing the back pain. The physician will review images from the discography, as well as the patient’s verbal expression of their symptoms, to determine how to proceed with treatment. This procedure is commonly combined with other types of testing, such as an MRI, CT scan, or physical exam, in order to draw a more accurate conclusion about the specific cause of the patient’s back pain. After a discography, it is normal for patients to feel some pain at the injection site or in their lower back for a few days. Please note that if the pain becomes severe or if you develop a fever, it is strongly recommended to call your doctor immediately.

How long does the procedure take? 

The discography itself only takes about 30-60 minutes, depending on how many spinal discs will need to be tested. However, patients can often expect to be at the clinic for up to three hours total, due to preliminary conversations and precautionary post-procedure observations. It is recommended that patients arrange for someone to drive them home from their appointment.

How should I prepare for a discography?

The doctor will thoroughly discuss all pre-procedure instructions with each patient, as the directions can differ by each individual case. It is likely that some medications may need to be paused, such as blood-thinning medications. Also, it is recommended that patients avoid eating or drinking during the morning of the test. 

At Apex Interventional Pain & Spine, we offer a comprehensive approach to determining and relieving the cause of your back pain. We’ll provide a personalized treatment plan to provide effective relief. Our team strives to help patients manage their pain, improve their quality of life, and return to the activities that bring them joy. If you’re struggling with chronic back pain, get in touch with us today and find out if a discography is right for you.