Everything You Need To Know About Diagnostic Discography
Back pain causes immense discomfort if left untreated. That’s why a trip to the doctor or pain management specialist is recommended if aches and pain continue.
In some severe cases, your doctor may even require a diagnostic discography. While it sounds intimidating, there’s no reason to worry. The procedure itself is painless and afterwards, it should help guide your doctor on the next steps for treatment.
What is Diagnostic Discography?
A discography, also known as a discogram, is a procedure that involves the injection of a dye into the spinal disc. The spinal disc is a soft rubbery tissue that separates the bones that form the spine.
If the spinal disc has undergone some wear or damage, this may be the reason for your back pain. A discography procedure along with an X-ray (more specifically fluoroscopy) allows doctors to see if your spinal discs are damaged. If this is the case, it may play a role in causing your pain.
Keep in mind, doctors only perform a discography when other forms of treatment like medication fail to work.
What To Expect From the Diagnostic Discography Procedure
While nerves are normal before this diagnostic discography procedure, don’t forget the rules set out by your physician. For example, they’ll probably advise you to avoid eating and drinking before the discography. They’ll also ask you to refrain from taking medications like aspirin.
During the procedure, you’ll be lying down. Since your doctor needs you awake for the procedure, they’ll only apply numbing medication in the areas they’ll be inserting the discogram needle. The needle then releases a dye.
This contrast dye appears in the imaging taken during the procedure, allowing doctors to diagnose your spinal discs. For your doctor to make accurate injections into the spinal discs, they’ll also rely on imaging technology, known as fluoroscopy, to guide them.
As your doctor inserts the needle into the regions of your back, they’ll ask you the level of pain you feel as they do so. Generally, if you experience pain at the injection site, this most likely means that your spinal disc is damaged. Alternatively, insertion in an unaffected spinal disc will cause zero to minimal pain.
The Results of a Diagnostic Discography with an OKC Expert
From the imaging that your doctor obtains, there are several things to note. If the spinal disc is normal, the dye will remain in the area of insertion. However, if the disc is damaged, the dye will appear spread out and dispersed in the images.
Doctors cannot solely rely on a discography to diagnose a patient’s back pain. Sometimes a cracked spinal disc may not be the reason for pain. That’s why doctors also rely on MRIs and CT scans to diagnose a patient and come up with the appropriate treatment. If necessary, doctors may recommend surgery depending on their diagnosis.
A discography to diagnose back pain is an effective way to pinpoint the underlying cause of it. It’s an excellent resource in combination with other tests to determine the ideal solution and next steps to help alleviate your back pain. For more information on expert diagnostic discography service in OKC, contact OK Pain Doc‘s pain management specialists in Oklahoma.