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Discogram on 12/3/08

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well, I just came back from my doctors appointment, and I am going to have the discogram on Dec. 3rd. Wish me luck, that it goes well, and it tells them something about the source of my pain. I will then have a consult with a surgeon on Dec. 15th.

I've been in constant pain for nearly 2 years now. I've tried as many conservative treatments as I could stand, but have gotten to the point where I need something to change.

I've been on Oxycodone-APAP 5/325 x 4, and while it helped reduce my pain at first, it doesn't seem to be doing so now. Instead of increasing the dose, she wants me to try Opana (Oxymorphone), which is a longer acting drug and I would only have to take it once or twice a day. It's expensive though, we'll see how I feel about it after trying it this weekend. If it's worth the cost, then so be it.

I've read a lot of posts here, and information on discograms in the treatment sections of SH, so I know what to expect. It's a little scary, but since it is not for a while, I'm not really thinking about that right now. I am just glad that I am now back on a track of action, and making some progress (not that I wasn't before, just not as clear cut). I hope that I don't get too worried, the closer it gets.


  • Hope everything goes well for you. Also hope opana works for you. Did he give btp meds just in case? Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • She didn't give me any btp meds. But my pain is constant all day long, though it gets worse throughout the day.

    I've been taking the oxycodone at four timepoints spread throughout my waking hours. 6:00 am, 11:30 am, 4:45 pm and 10:00 pm. So even though I take it throughout the day, my pain still increases during the day. I think her thinking was to try and give me a longer acting med, instead of short acting (which is what the oxycodone is), to keep it more evenly in my system.

    I don't know, I can only give it a try and see if it works. But a 30 day supply of the oxycodone is only $10 with my insurance, and I don't think that would change if the dose increases. The Opana cost me $50 for only 15 day supply (though I am hoping it will be the same cost for anything up to a 30 day supply - I've seen that before, a 20 day supply costs the same as a 30 day supply).

    If it turns out to be way too expensive, then I will ask about trying a higher dose of the oxycodone. In fact tonight she said I could take a double dose, so I'll see if it makes a difference in my pain. But then I am supposed to try the Opana starting tomorrow morning. I've had some bad side effects to some other pain meds, and I'm just nervous about possibly being sick and not able to do anything, if that happens.
  • Hi! I too am going to have a discogram. The date is not set yet. I just found out a couple hours ago. I am so nervous. :O I just had a CT Myleogramn 3 weeks ago and that was the worse thing that I ever went through. I wouldn't be nervous if they put me out, but we have to be awake! (Like the CT Myleogram!) I had a back fusion a year and a half ago, and the pain is getting worse. This is to further find out what is going on. Let me know how it goes!
  • I have a call into my doctor today, because well first off I need adjustment of my pain meds.

    But I also want to ask about pain meds before and after the discogram, and to ask about anesthesia during. I'm hoping I won't remember the pain afterwards (though I know better than to hope for no pain during - that's the whole point isn't it?).
  • Hi Treefrog!

    Good luck with your tests.Don't worry too much, they will give you adequate relief once they have poked you around.
    I was suitably sedated and can't remember a thing, lovely!

    Regards you other mediaction regime, have you tried adding in paracetamol / acetaminophen up to 4x day?

    Obviously with your doctors advice but this medication potentiates the effects of the oxycodone with out increasing side effects. Really works for me. Check it out there are lots of papers that discuss it use or its under use in pain managemnt!
    I sussed it when after my surgery it was the IV version taht really seemed to help me and I never understood why, when I was using a PCA which I thought was rubbish!!

    Good Luck
  • Hi! I just wanted to let you know I had a discogram in Sept. I had to go out of town for this procedure. Since I am single I had to spend that evening in a hotel. I was informed it was not the most pleasant procedure. I arrived at the hospital at 7 am and had the test done at 9. They were very good and I was sedated but was still with it. I myself did not find it that painful as I explained to the doc that I thought it was a piece of cake compared to pain that I experience reguarly. After the test I was brought to a day bed where I slept for about 4 hours. I felt good and even went to get some munchies to go back to my hotel. I was really tired though and fell asleep at around 8pm. The next morning (the day I am to drive home apprx. 3 hrs.) I woke up in extreme pain. Did not expect that & was pretty down & out. I thought maybe I should spend another night but changed my mind, too much money to spend whenyou fel just awful. I decided to drive home but first purchased some icy-hot patches. Put one one on my lower back and upper right leg, they are great. I made it home. My advice to you is make sure you are not alone and be prepared for pain for about a week. They were able to tell me during the procedure that the three dics they were testing were all damaged as I could not distinquish which disc they were testing.What they concluded and told me right there that I was not a candidate for surgery. I hope I have not scared you. I hope at least I was somewhat helpful. Good luck.
  • The place I am going, I've been to before for ESI's, and I think they are great. It is right across the street from my PM's office. I was told that after the discogram, they will send me back over to the PM's to have CT and x-ray done.

    They are about a half hour from home, and my boyfriend is driving. The PM told me I wouldn't return to work until Monday (after discogram on Wed), which sounds like enough time to recover, from reading other threads. I have my laptop to use in bed, if I can't stand getting up and around. And I love TV, and we have a lot of shows on our DVR that I can watch. Hopefully I'll be up for those things.

    As for the pain meds. I took two double doses of oxycodone-APAP 5/325 [so 10mg each time] (approved by doc) on Friday night @ 5pm and 11:30pm. That reduced my pain level some. Saturday morning is when I started taking the Opana. But it turns out that it isn't the ER version (I'm not sure if she didn't write the Rx for the ER version or what), but it says it can be taken every 4-6 hrs. The Opana kept my pain level at that reduced level through the weekend, but now that I am back at work it isn't keeping up (though neither was the oxycodone).

    So for either med, I need more than what I am taking currently. And I would prefer to take the oxycodone because of the price. I'm waiting to get a call back today.
  • First off, YAYAY for getting an action plan together, that alone can make a difference in your outlook on pain.

    I had a discogram last month. I won't lie, it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I also decided to stop taking any pain meds for a couple of days leading up to the procedure so that I would know what is "normal" pain and what is not. The doc doing my discogram said that this study was the most conclusive he had ever done. The test definately showed that the pain induced by the contrast dye being injected was mimicking my original pain. So, I am now scheduled for a 2 level fusion. My hope for you is that the test gives you some answers.

    One Love,

  • My hope for you is that the test gives you some answers.
    That's what I'm hoping for too. The sheet I received when setting up my appointment says to continue taking pain meds, but I am going to ask my doctor about that. I want to make sure the test is conclusive.

    And you are so right, about feeling better, just by having a plan. But I know it is still going to be a while before I would likely have anything done (surgery if it's indicated, what else I don't know), what with the holidays and I'm not seeing the surgeon until 12/15. And I would assume, though I may be wrong about this, that the surgeon would want to do some additional tests too. I'm afraid it might be months.

    Good luck to you Stephanie, on your surgery. I hope it goes well. I'll be thinking about you, as I stuff my face with birthday cake =)) .
  • I saw my surgeon yesterday. I'm scheduled to have a discography Dec. 5. I'll be interested in hearing about your experiences - just two days before me. Please let us know how it goes.

    I hope it won't be too bad. The ortho who's done all my ESIs will be doing this as well, and he's good. The fact that I'll be on "twilight" medication should help. At least I won't remember much when it's over.

    My MRIs show that L5/S1 and L4/L5 are shot. My surgeon wants the discography to rule out whether L3/L4 (which appears normal on the MRI) is also contributing to the pain. He's planning to do a two-level ALIF in January, and if it turns out that a third level is involved, an ALIF won't work, he said.
  • Hey there,

    I recently had a discogram on 10/9 and I have a high tolerance of pain. I am going to be honest, if there is an issue with you back...you will feel the pain. They normally give you an IV and give you some sedation I) meds...just enough to get you through it. It takes about 30-45 minutes depending on the patient and once you're done they will either give you a shot or meds through the IV to help you cope with the discomfort. I had to stay in recovery for 4 hrs and received a boxed lunch being that you can't eat the night after midnight the previous night. One thing I did like about the test is it will give you answers. I had a normal MRI and Myelogram prior to my Discogram...I wish you all the best =D>
  • You might ask your doc if the pain patch (Fentanyl) would be an option for you. I think they are not very expensive. I'm lucky that I only pay $5 for a month's supply. The thing is, they last three days. Since you don't have to worry about taking dose after dose after dose, like the pills, you actually stay pain free longer. I found the patches to be very liberating.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • just wishing you the best of luck. i have never had one so can't offer advice on that ;)

    depending on what they use in your IV you should be fine. ;)

    plan on sleeping the afternoon/night away I) hopefully you will not wake up in to much discomfort the next day >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • I tried the fentanyl patch, made me sick. I won't be having any of that.

    I'm still waiting on my doctor to call me back. I should have just called the main number and left a call back message, instead I called the nurse's direct number and left a message there. But my doctor covers at least 3 different medical offices (it's a big practice with multiple offices), as well as 2 surgery centers. So who knows when the nurse will be back in that office. My pain is getting bad again, so I think I will call the main number - now - and leave a call back message. Maybe they will get it sooner that way.
  • I will try to get back on here after the procedure. Hopefully I will be feeling up to it, by the next day.

    Good luck on yours too. I guess you're hoping that the L3/L4 is not involved, so you can go ahead with the ALIF? What did he say would happen in the L3/L4 is involved?
  • I am switching back to the oxycodone-APAP, but at double the dose (2 x 5mg/325mg = 10mg; 4 times/day). Before I was taking 20mg/day total, now it will be 40mg/day. When I need a refill I will go to 10mg/325mg pills, so I won't get too much Tylenol (even taking 8 pills of the 5/325, it's still below the upper limit, but I'd like to keep it on the lower side - even though my doc said the Tylenol isn't bad for my issues).

    I hope that is enough to keep my pain level at or below 2 (annoying). That's instead of the average 4 (uncomfortable) where I've been.

    So, that $50 for 30 pills of Opana is now for naught. :<
    I need to return the unused pills, the next time I visit the office.

    I can't think about the money, just the pain relief (that had better start soon).
  • treefrog said:
    I guess you're hoping that the L3/L4 is not involved, so you can go ahead with the ALIF? What did he say would happen in the L3/L4 is involved?
    He didn't say. I guess we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.

    Good luck with your disco, too!
  • Discograms are painful. There's no point lying about it. I had mine last May before my surgery in June. I remember the whole thing even though the doctor had sedated me and said I wouldnt remember any of it. I remember him poking me and asking me if this hurt and it that hurt. When he finally hit the damaged disk I almost went through the roof, my whole body stiffened up and I started screaming and crying in pain. They gave me something to lessen the pain almost immediately...that's the good thing.
    They need to recreate your worst pain in order to find the bad disk to know which one to operate on. It's a really excellent procedure.
    Dont worry, they wont let you be in pain for any longer than you need to be.

    Good luck and god bless,
    Christina =)
  • I think it must vary greatly depending on your administrating Dr. I had mine 2 weeks ago and was very scared.
    I didn't think the needle part hurt at all but as he released the dye/pressure into the disk it got uncomfortable and felt very full w/ pressure. My bad pain did not start untill the needle was withdrawn & I tried to move. I found I couldnt get up from the table because of the pain & they promptly gave me Fentynol in my IV. they then walked me to a recovery area & because of my pain level they gave me more. I was in "recovery" for about 45 minutes & then released w/ a Rx. I was "down" for about 4 days before I was able to function normally.
    My Dr. does not give any sedation and i had to stop pain medication 12 hrs prior to the test.
    My main point is, the test was not as bad as I expected. Maybe because I frequently have Epidural Steriod Injections and I am used to that process..he did say the discogram needle is smaller than an epidural.
  • I am hoping this will be a really good test, give the doc some useful information, and hopefully lead to an action plan to alleviate my pain.

    I ended up back on the Opana, at a higher dose. That seems to be working fairly well, as long as I don't exert myself at all. Which means that I am still not functioning any where near normal. So, even though my pain is better controlled, it still isn't good enough. I mean what's the point if I still can't do my job properly, clean my house, or do anything socially.

    Well, I am making the effort tonight to be social. My workplace is having our holiday party/dinner tonight. I did allow myself to come into work later, just so I would make it through the evening. But it will be a nice little reprieve before the discogram tomorrow, something to keep my mind off the procedure for a while.

    Endymion, I will try really hard to get back here to let you know how it went. I have a laptop now, so I should be able to get on.
  • Good luck, will be cheering for ya.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Hope it goes well and not much pain. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hope your test went well! Let us know how you did :)
  • I did ok, there was definitely pain, and still is.

    I don't recall if they brought me out of it, before this, but the first conscious recollection I had was pain going down my leg. I tried to move, to try and get rid of the pain, and they had to tell me not to move. So then they had me tell them where I was hurting (which was the same areas that I normally have pain - except much worse). I also had to tell them how much it hurt, on a scale of 1-10 (it was a 7 then went up to 8, whereas before they started my pain was about a 2.5). I don't think they brought me up except for the once, and I could tell there were a few differences in the pain. I think they must have been testing different discs.

    My boyfriend said that when they wheeled me back out, I was thanking everyone for helping me. I did tell the anesthesiologist that fentanyl makes me sick, so they gave me something ahead of time to help with nausea.

    After the discogram, I had to go over to the doctors office (right across the street) to have CT scan and x-rays. Then it was a stop at the pharmacy for some breakthrough pain meds.

    Now I think I will go back to sleep. I have a headache, and on top of the pain from the discogram I am feeling pretty miserable.

    Please excuse the spelling.
  • Endymion,
    Good luck with your discogram today. I hope it goes well for you, and that it gives you some answers.

  • I am less stiff now, and can get around a little better. I have limited myself to staying in bed most of the time. That first day my boyfriend even had to push me from behind, at the shoulder, to help me get out of bed. But now I can get out by myself, like normal.

    I am still having what feels like nerve pain in my legs and hips. I guess the nerves were really irritated from the disc pressure.

    Today, I plan on getting up some more, and moving around a bit. Probably just enough to take a shower and make my way downstairs to make coffee ;) , it's been 2 days now since I've had coffee. I think that may have contributed to my headache the other day.

    And I want to wish good luck to Endymion, on their discogram today.
  • Glad to hear you're doing better, Treefrog.

    I had my discogram this morning. After reading so many scary stories here, I was pretty nervous, but actually it turned out to be not as bad as I thought it would be.

    After a long wait (to do a blood test, get an IV started, give me antibiotics, etc.) they took me into the room and got me set up. The procedure itself took about an hour. Getting the needles into place was about the same as getting an ESI. They gave me a very little dose of versed (sp??) to help me get through it, and locals for the shots.

    When the doc put pressure into L3-L4, I didn't react at all. (I didn't realize he'd done it.)

    L4-L5 was painful, but bearable.

    L5-S1 was a different story. Going in, the needle brushed a nerve. (The doc said the nerve was not in its normal position b/c the disc at that level is pancaked.) I just about jumped off the table at that point. It was a definite 10 on the pain scale. But he backed the needle out right away, and the pain stopped.

    He told me had had to do some fancy "trigonometry" to get around the nerve, but he did it. It hurt like hell when he finally got into the disc and pressurized it. He immediately injected lidocaine, though.

    Afterward, they gave me fentenal (sp??) and took me for a CT scan. My doc told me L4-5 looks "crappy," and L5-S1 looked "even crappier."

    Bottom line, it's a two level ALIF for me in January, as we thought. This test basically ruled out the need for a third level fusion.

    I'm sore now, and that's with painkillers and the lidocaine. I imagine tomorrow will be a rough day.

    Going back to bed now.
  • So glad to hear that it wasn't as bad as you thought, and very happy to hear that it is only the 2 discs so you can go ahead with surgery. I have to wait for my appt with the surgeon, on the 15th, to find out what my options are. I do have an appt with my PM doc (the one that did the discogram) on the 12th, but she told me she won't be able to tell me what the test means as far as surgery. I do hope that she will at least be able to tell me a little about the results, like which discs were causing pain.

    I hope your recovery is going well. I was feeling a bit better on Friday morning. My boyfriends car was at the shop, he had a friend help him drop it off, but then it was time to pick it up again. I thought I would be okay driving just the few miles back from the shop. It was awful, the pain from my waist down was intense, and I was crying by the time I got home. So now I am trying to get back to the same point that I was on Friday.

    My advice, take it easy for at least 3-4 days. Even if you feel better, don't risk doing anything that will put you back in pain. In other words, don't do what I did.
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