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KEKKE Posts: 21
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well, I am scheduled for a discogram in about 4 days, and I have read a lot about it. I want to know. . .does it really, really hurt? Good grief. I had a lumbar laminectomy in 1995, a lumbar fusion L4-5 in 2007 with a spire plate, and an XLIF fusion in 2008, L4-L5. Still have lower back pain, groin pain, and pain down L leg all the way, and right to the knee. There's scar tissue by the 2007 surgery site, now trying to find out if something else could be wrong.

So like I said, I've got this thing scheduled. I have had an EMG test before which was pretty bad, and when they hit that one part of my lower back, that was it. Pain through the roof and the test was over. . .still, I cried for about 2 hours. I am no wuss, but I don't relish this hurting and I am scared. So can anybody give me the real honest lowdown? Thanks.


  • Good luck, I've never had one, but I've heard that you won't remember the pain at all, as they give you something to forget.
  • I had a discogram last year, and yes it does hurt. At the time i just wanted to know why i was having so much pain, so it was worth having the test. Make sure you have someone with you that will rember what the doc said because they give you medication that makes you forget. After the test i was in pain and they gave me vicoden that helped relieve the pain. Good luck! hope everything workes out for you.
  • Well, thank you both for your comments. If anyone else can comment on their own experiences I will surely appreciate that.
  • I would have thought they would have given you one already.
    Usually, it's the test before any back surgery.

    I had 2 of them. Mine were with versed administered thru thru the I.V.

    Barely remember them. They sedated me and brought me out of it just enough to answer their questions during the test. Then, they put me back out.

    The first time, I went into surgey a couple hours after the test.

    The second time (different disc) we waited till the next day to do surgery.
    I did have pain the rest of the day from the test. Vicodin was given to me beforehand to control that.

    Some people don't get the benefit of sedation or painkillers. I feel bad for those folks.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Thanks for your comments. Well, for that 2007 lumbar surgery they saw a cyst by L5 and had to go in, no question. Second time, 2008, mri showed vertebral slippage at L4-L5. No question, it had to be fixed. But now. . .still pain, so that's why dr. recommended this. He said, if it's scar tissue there is nada they can do. And, vertebre look good but I could have a missed disc prob. below or above L4-L5. So that's why. Now, I don't think my dr. is using sedation at all. He said I had to be awake. You know what though, I am calling Monday (tomorrow) to find out exactly how he does it, so I will be better prepped for it mentally. Thanks for your two cents. K
  • I had one last May. They gave me meds to relax me quite a bit and I don't remember actual details of the test, but I do remember when they hit the bad disc I knew it without a doubt.You have so much medication in you at the time though that it is manageable. Of course that is the purpose of the test, for you to feel the pain so they know which disc(s) are bad. The worst part of the pain for me came later that day and in the middle of the night after the procedure.
    I hope the test goes well for you and they find some answers. :)
  • I've never had one, but if they give meds to help you forget, it must be worth forgetting. I hope you get some answers without being in too much pain. God, these back/nerve issues are bad.
  • I haven't had one either but have similar problems as you such as retrolisthesis (slippage) at L4-5, along with a recurrent disc herniation and severe DDD and nerve impingement at L5-S1. After my 2 level TLIF about a year ago they discovered scar tissue at those same levels on the nerve root and thecal sac.

    On top of that I have permanent nerve damage in one leg. I'll be having a permanent implantation of a morphine pump soon and I can't wait. I'm tired of being stuck in bed because it's how I'm most comfortable, and it hurts to sit, stand, walk, drive, etc even with strong pain medications.

    Well, I hope the discogram goes well and they give you sedation (it don't hurt to ask) Maybe the results will clarify or confirm what is going on. Take care
  • I had two discograms done in the past year. They are not that bad, they do give you medication that relaxes you and you dont remember the test. But you have to be awake to tell them if it hurts and how much. Dont be scared. You have been through fusions, which in my opinion was alot worse. I had my fusion in Dec and remember waking up with hellish pain until they got it under control. After the discogram, you will have pain, probably like what you have now, maybe a little more intense for a day or two. Your pain meds will help. Dont be scared, it really isnt that bad. Not nearly as bad as post op fusion.
  • I had a discogram last month and although I had heard some horror stories it wasn't really bad at all. Thanks to the IV anesthesia I only remember waking up and saying oww a few times and then waking up when it was over.

    I did have some discomfort the following day but this it was quickly relieved by some oral steroids.

    Best of luck!
  • Dear Everyone,

    I just have to say thank you so much for your support and well wishes! Gosh, I was reading your comments and then I read what you had been going through. . .we take our bodies for granted until something goes wrong.

    I will get through this. iowarobin said it: if you can get through fusion you can get through anything. That 2007 surgery I had, from the back, was rough. I was supposed to be out in 3 days, but got what they thought was a hematoma, so back under the knife. . .I'd had a severe reaction to that bmp protein. Hospitalized for 10 days. Then, after that 2008 XLIF, I caught CDiff in the hospital. Not sure if anyone knows what that is. . .just a horrid, horrid intestinal infection. So instead of going home the next day, I was there for 14.

    Now, why I am reliving that stuff now I'm not sure, except maybe to help me remember that this is not so bad, and that I've been through worse, as all of you have. Pain isn't pretty but the good part is, it won't last.

    So thank you to all, past and even future, who write with their knowledge and experiences. Thinking of all of you. K
  • I had a discogram in march of 'o9. I was also real anxious but really after having pain for two years and no diagnosis I was willing to do whatever it took to find a diagnosis. Yes it does hurt,but is bearable using meds that make you forget the pain. They want to find out where the pain is generating from so I had 3 levels tested and then one control level done. To me it felt like my bones were being blown up with pressure. Then it stops and you respond to see if it mimics your everyday pain. Mine was not identical but did show 3 tears the worst beingl4 l-5. That is where I had an ALIF on4-23-09.
  • I had a discogram and yes it hurt like hell. It only will hurt when you actually have a disc problem at the level they enter. I had 3 levels checked and the 3rd level didn't hurt much at all. The picture associated with my name is a snapshot from the fluoroscope during the procedure. They would not think about surgery until the results of the discogram were known.

    I received no meds during or after the disco but had to call the net day to gt some percocet as the pain was brutal and I could barely move much less walk. They neglected to ell me that I would need a couple of days of of work and did not offer any medication for during or after the procedure. Make sure you request this! The doctor told me he does not provide meds during so he can ask questions regarding the pain level and how it related to my normal pain.

    Good luck
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