A discogram, or discography, is a diagnostic procedure rather than a treatment for pain. It is used to identify the specific intervertebral disc that is the source of a patient’s back pain. Here’s how it works and how it relates to pain management:

Procedure Overview:

  • Preparation: The patient is positioned on a table, and the skin over the spine is cleaned and numbed with a local anesthetic.
  • Needle Insertion: Using fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray guidance), a needle is inserted through the skin and into the center of one or more intervertebral discs.
  • Injection of Contrast Dye: A contrast dye is injected into the disc. The dye helps to visualize the disc on imaging and may provoke pain by increasing pressure within the disc.
  • Pain Assessment: During the injection, the patient is asked to describe any pain experienced. If the injection recreates the patient’s usual back pain, the disc is considered a potential source of that pain.

Diagnostic Purpose:

  • Identifying Pain Source: By provoking pain in a controlled manner, the discogram helps pinpoint which disc is responsible for the patient’s symptoms. This is particularly useful when imaging studies like MRI or CT scans show abnormalities in multiple discs, making it unclear which one is causing the pain.
  • Guiding Treatment: The results of a discogram can help guide further treatment. For instance, if a specific disc is identified as the pain source, treatments such as spinal fusion, disc replacement, or other surgical interventions might be considered.

Relation to Pain Treatment:

  • Treatment Planning: Although the discogram itself doesn’t treat pain, it is crucial in planning effective treatment. By accurately diagnosing the source of pain, it helps in avoiding unnecessary surgeries or targeting the appropriate disc for treatment.
  • Therapeutic Procedures: Following a discogram, a patient might undergo treatments based on the findings. These treatments could include surgical options, physical therapy, pain management techniques, or other interventions tailored to address the identified problem disc.

Risks and Considerations:

  • Pain During the Procedure: Because the goal is to reproduce the patient’s pain, the procedure can be uncomfortable.
  • Infection or Bleeding: As with any invasive procedure, there is a risk of infection or bleeding.
  • Disc Damage: There is a potential risk of causing further damage to the disc.

Accepting New Patients

A discogram helps to identify the specific disc causing pain, which is essential for developing a targeted and effective treatment plan. It is an important diagnostic tool in the management of chronic back pain when the source of pain is unclear.

Pain Treatment Institute is committed to offering the latest treatments to remove or relieve acute and chronic pain. Our pain management clinics are accepting new patients. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Our Pain Management Physicians

Dr Preston Harmon Top Pain Management Doctor in Frisco McKinney Plano Sherman and Rockwall
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