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Discography is a non-invasive procedure that uses images to determine whether the discs in the lower back are the source of pain. More than 31 million Americans suffer from back pain, and low back pain is the leading cause of disability here in America. For many people, back pain is a normal part of everyday life – but it doesn’t have to be that way. A discography will help check to see if there is any disc damage. When one or more discs have been damaged, it can result in mild to severe, debilitating pain. These discs are in place to provide flexibility and support. When they are damaged or compromised in any way, the results can be quite painful, to say the least.

What is Discography?

Also referred to as disc stimulation testing, discography is a diagnostic tool used to find the source of pain from a damaged disc. In many cases, this form of treatment is used to evaluate individuals who have not responded to other traditional (nonsurgical) care plans. During discography, an x-ray dye is injected under gentle pressure into the disks of the spine. Once the dye is injected, the doctor will be able to determine if a specific disc is responsible for the pain. After the dye has been injected, an x-ray picture is taken of the disks. This image is referred to as a “discogram” and will either be normal or show tears (fissures) in the lining of the disc. Here are a few other considerations to keep in mind prior to a discography:

  • You will likely be asked to lie on your stomach during the test
  • During the discography, your blood pressure, EKG, and oxygen levels will be tracked
  • A local anesthetic will be used to numb the injection area
  • The injection will be inserted into the region that is causing you severe pain
  • The doctor will ask you to rate the pain you are feeling, usually out of 10
  • If multiple discs are causing distress or pain, multiple discs will be injected with the dye

It is important to keep in mind that while discography is not a treatment for pain, it provides invaluable information and insight as to how to treat pain. It is a very beneficial tool that we rely on to pinpoint the source of your pain and discomfort. Over time, the walls of the spinal discs can become damaged or tear. When this happens, internal disc disruption or degenerative disc disease may be present, resulting in chronic back pain. If you are experiencing a deep ache in your back that sometimes radiates into the buttocks or thigh, you may want to come into Texas Partners Healthcare Group for a discography. To learn more about this service, please visit one of our locations in Allen, Anna, Dallas, Frisco, or McKinney.