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Discogram anyone??

TraseeTTrasee Posts: 571
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:36 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hey everyone! This board is unbelievable. Thanks so much for sharing info and your experiences.

On to my question. Has anyone had a discogram? I am scheduled for one tomorrow and I am scared to death. I had very painful facet injections last week. So that has added to the near panic I am at right now. I really cried, sobbed type of crying and I just do NOT do that in public. I understand why the procedure is necessary. I don't want my Dr fusing something that doesn't need fusing. But the radiology center that is doing my procedure does NOT give even mild sedation. And I cannot take any of my own pain meds. UGHHHHHHH I am a pretty strong person and high pain tolerance after years of lower back pain, laminectomy L4/L5. Facet Neurotomy, ESI & Facet injections, too numerous to count. But I am really worried this will be bad.


  • I wish I had known about this forum a long time ago! Wow, I never thought to look for anything like this. I am scheduled for a discogram on October 6th and while I can't offer you any advice on what to expect, I hope it goes well for you tomorrow. I am scared to death for mine as well.
  • Good luck tomorrow. Here is a link to a little video of the procedure:


    There are many previous posts pertaining to discogram. If you type "discogram" into the search box for the forum, a number of entries will display for you to choose from. Remember that everyone experiences pain differently, and different doctors have different ways of doing each procedure...so keep that in mind when reading anything on this board!!

    I think everyone would agree the test is painful, but ultimately worth it to know your diagnosis is accurate. Nothing is worse than having surgery on a particular disc, only to find out it wasn't the source of pain after all.

    Take good care --
    xx Gwennie
  • Gwennie, Of course I saw the search field after I posted this question. I hate being redundant. Thanks for the heads up anyway :)

    Noseovertail, I wish you the best with your procedure, as well.

    I am just going to grit my teeth and think good thoughts.
  • Discogram was not fun. I did find that L4/5 are again the source of my pain, sigh. And the radiology ctr that did my procedure DOES give mild sedative (versed), apparently I spoke to someone there by phone that has no clue. After I explained my fear from last weeks facet experience, they hooked me up with a little more than normal. I think that is probably the only thing that kept me from screaming my head off. Still in considerale pain and expect to be for several days. Thanks for the kind words :)
  • Mine is at L5/S1. This center also does only mild sedative. The PM doc said he wanted me wide awake but somewhat relaxed. That was almost comical. I got a light dose of versed to relax me. That was a waste. Then a local to cut the pain of the needles inserted.

    When he applied the pressure at L5/S1 I felt more pain in my back than I have ever felt. Instead of feeling pain in my leg I could barely feel my leg. I also had a touch of pain at L4/L5. There is some degeneration at that level. L5/S1 is pretty much shot, dried up, herniated, and almost no spacing left.

    After the testing was done he did inject some morphine and that helped a lot. When I got home though it made me feel queasy and I wanted to throw up. I don't seem to do well with pain meds. I slept most of the day and all night. Got up this morning and felt stiff. Went for about a mile walk and felt much better. Back and leg pain are about normal again.

    The last time I did a discogram they gave me so much versed I don't remember a thing. This PM doc was totally against that. He told me up front it would hurt worse than the ESI shots. He was right.
  • Thank you for coming back to post about your experience. My discogram is tomorrow and even though I have been constantly researching it, I'm still absolutely terrified. Just thinking about it makes me nauseous and anxiety-ridden.
  • Yes, as you now know, discograms are a painful procedure, but so necessary in diagnosing the exact source of your pain. I'm very glad that your radiology center offered a mild sedative, as mine did not. T

    Noseovertail, the thing to remember when getting a discogram is that there is only a mild sensation when the doctor is testing an area that is not the source of your pain. When he/she tests an area that is the source of the pain, you will feel pain, and it will hurt, but it will be temporary. Take deep breaths and do your best to focus on each breath you take, and not the pain. By the time you have taken about three deep breaths, the majority of the pain will have passed. The worst part about getting a discogram is that they are usually scheduled about a week or two after you know you need one so you have all that time to research and anticipate the worst. The pain is bad, but not so bad that you will be overcome by it once it is over. You will be sore, but when it's over, you will know the exact source of your pain. Please post tomorrow to let us know how you came through. My thoughts are with you.
  • was the horrible cramping feeling that I had just after before they got me back for a CT. I was wheeled out into the hallway and left for seemed like 15 to 20 minutes. I was given nothing for pain before, during, or after. That sucked too. I'm just about fed up with hurting whether from my own spine or doctor-made. No one should hurt if it can be avoided.

    Hope the soreness goes away quick for you. Seems like I remember that it did work up my pain more until I had surgery. But it did find the culprit of my problems.
  • It's unfortunate but the idea that none of it should ever hurt is unrealistic. It does and will hurt. That's part of life. The test hurts when they apply pressure. You tell them exactly where and how much then they let the pressure off. There should be no mistake where your pain source is. Crude test, but to the point. Today I was fine. Only lingering issue is my calves tightening up.

    The weird thing is my back pain lights up when L5/S1 is injected. The leg pain didn't. It went numb. Then the pain came back in my hip/leg after the test. So talking with neuro about that part. Still doesn't change the fact the disc is gone. Time to say good bye to it.
  • You must feel the pain in order for a correct diagnosis to be reached. BUT there is no reason that as soon as the diagnosis is made that you should not get some relief. There is no reason for the suffering to linger on.
  • Thanks NEBaker, I will make sure to repost after I have it done.

    I am also getting a CAT scan right after the discogram. Not looking forward to that either. I'm also terrified that I will become sick to my stomach from the pain meds. I've never had anything like this done before, heck I've never even had stitches or a bee sting. One of the very few times I've had an IV it fell out of my vein and my arm blew up like a balloon, so I am seriously freaking out about this, probably way more than I should.

    I hope everyone who recently had it done is feeling better asap.

  • hi
    its very terrific condition you told about u but now day there lots of different and new treatments are discovered which are very successful for

    Spam link removed by forum Authority (Cath111). We do not permit spam links on Spine-Health.
  • I am still experiencing more pain than before the dg. And I don't see my surgeon for 2 more weeks. They upped my pain meds, but those make me feel crapy too. No win situation. My sister was upset that "they" put me thru that much pain, she understands why, but she commented, is there a time that they start helping you and stop hurting you. She has a point.

    Nose, I hope your test went quickly and you are doing well. Lets us know how you are.
  • Hi Everyone,

    I just joined this site tonight after being linked here from watching numerous spinal surgeries on the net, not good I know before an Operation but it will be my secound one and they are doing it different this time.
    I had discography before my Op last time this was 9 years ago and I still have not forgot the Pain but they really do need to do this in order to pinpoint the spot.
    I had complications during my surgery which I never got to know what it was it took 7 hours instead of the 3 hours planned, mine was what they called a failed surgery as it didn't make me any better but quite the opposit, 9 years on and I am still taking 15 painkillers a day in order to live my life as normal, I did try morphine but this made me very tired and very depressed so I came off them and went back on my painkillers the patches wore off after the secound day anyhow and I could feel the pain too much.
    I gave my own blood for the operation as this was an option at the time I wish I never had now as it was horrible I felt the life drain out of me and it did not get used anyhow :0(
    I need to go for another Discography to see where the problem lies again, this time I get the surgery from the front and from the back as they are going to withdraw the metalware to see If this makes any difference to the pain, I also need a disc which is degenerated, they was supposed to do the 3 disc together but only did the one when I had Op as this wouldn;t limit my abillity to move too much I was told by the Dr when I came round from the Operation, I am still terrified of going through it all again especially after my 2 year divorce has just got finalised and now I can decide weather to go for it I know secound and third Operations have worked for others but it is a 50/50 chance I will come out better or worse.
    Well I guess it's decision time for me now but to be honest I thought the discography was worse than having the Operation for the spinal fusion.
    It's good to know there are others on here who we can all speak to and have the comfort of a friend in the same situation. best of luck to everyone for the future.
  • Well, it's over and done with! I had the procedure at about 3pm and was finished by 3:30. It was definitely painful, but since I told them how absolutely terrified I was they were really gentle and kind with me. The nurse even numbed the area on my hand that I got the IV on.

    I was given an anasthetic right before they wheeled me in for the procedure. I felt it immediately. I'm not sure what they gave me, but it made me feel very sleepy. In the procedure room, my doctor explained everything he was doing and a nurse was speaking to me quietly telling me everything was going to be okay. They asked if it hurt a few times, and it did. Badly. But then they stopped the pain and it pretty much went away. I cried during the whole procedure but it wasn't nearly as paintful as I kept reading on forums and websites. I would do it again in a heartbeat if it was necessary.

    Right after the discogram I was wheeled into the CAT scan. I was pretty sore but able to sit up and move around a bit. I was wheeled out to the car in a wheelchair but I could have easily walked.

    I have a follow up appointment with my surgeon on Thursday where he will go over what they learned. They told me some of it but I'm still tired and woozy from the anesthesia so I don't remember it all. I got some pretty cool photos of the neeldes in my spine, though!

    Thanks for the words of encouragement... I really apprecaite this forum.
  • Okay, today I'm really, really sore. A different sore than my normal back pain. My doctor doesn't want me icing it or using a heat pack, so I've just been resting.
  • Glad it's over and that you survived. Hopefully the test will show exactly where your pain is coming from, so you can say it was all worth it.

    You'll probably be a little sore for several more days. Our spines don't really like all those chemicals they are fond of shooting into us.
  • FYI,

    I had my discogram this past July and did not feel totally back to my "normal" level of pain for at least 10+ days.(I'm not trying to scare you).

    I iced my back, which helped. However, you should follow what your Dr. says. Also, lots of rest. It is a very invasive procedure, let your body recover from it and feel better soon.

    My surgeon knew exactly what the problem was, but due to Insurance getting stricter I had to have the procedure in order for them to approve my fusion. For others it is a neccesary evil when other tests don't show what the problem is.

    At least its over! Take care
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