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Disc O Gram

bigcat1960bbigcat1960 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Lower Back Pain
I have just completed my visit to my surgeon for my lower back after seven years of pain management.I truely believe that the time has come for the day we dred.I have been recomended for the XLIF procedure.With two possable procedures .The disc replacement with fusion along the both sides of the spine or the plate fusion behind the disc where it bolts to the two bones(which i dont know the name off hand) they stick out from the spine.Anyhow,prior to this i need a DISC O GRAM.I heard of all kinds of bad things relating to pain,from this procedure.As such im scared to death of this! Through the years ive had close to 35 facet block injections with all the meds that go with it.What made me go see a surgeon is the past summer i was in excruciating pain for two Months .I thought my tail bone was broke .I could not eat and had terrible head aches from the pain.I am getting tired of the pain meds.So i want an end.I hope i am going in the right direction.My question is what can i do to eliviate the pain as much as possable with the disc o gram??Someone PLEASE give me a hand here!! JOE


  • Sorry for this long post, but I figure more detail is better than none.

    In short, the disc o gram is painful, but I've had other procedures that were as bad or worse.

    Just know that it IS painful, but there's a reason, and it's over quicker than you think it will be.

    For me, they put in an IV and took me down to where I was super relaxed, but awake and aware enough to talk the the doctor and answer questions.

    They then put in local anesth. shots and then went in with a needle to put dye into the suspected offending disk(s) (I had two herniated) and then watched on the fluoroscope (live-action TV x-ray type setup) as to be accurate with the needle.

    They basically inject dye so they can see it, and it enlarges your disk and makes whatever hurts (nerve being mashed or whatever) hurt even more, and quickly, and then you have to avoid crying or yelling to describe to them exactly where it hurts and any other sensations.

    Again, for me, pain at the mashed nerves, along with pain down my leg with one of the disks they did this to. I felt my leg go numb pretty fast, which was also what happened in a slower fashion as I walked anyway.

    In short, when you can describe Very Accuratel where and how it hurt, it allows the doctors to know exactly which disks and nerves are being mashed by the herniated disk. It allows them to be dang sure what they work on when they go in for real during the surgery.

    That's how it was for me, anyway.

    The discogram is up there on the pain scale, but once you tell them where the newly engorged disk is pressing, then they can stop. I'm not sure if they back out some of the dye, but when they stopped, the pain went back down for me.

    They did this on two disks for me, and sure, it hurt pretty badly, but not for long, and the doctor was satisfied with my descriptions and details of what I felt.

    I must say, outside of after surgery pain, the myelogram I had a few years later to try to identify the culprit for my continuing chronic pain was way worse than the discogram had been.

    I wouldn't get too stressed out about it, yes, you ARE going in there KNOWING that they are intentionally going to hurt you, but for me, the anesthesia stuff they zonked me with killed the mental stress part. The pain was real, and pretty rough, but short-lived.

    I feel pain like the average person, I think, but I'm pretty tough-minded about it and deal with it fairly well in my mind.

    It's definitely not a favorite memory, but then again, I was laying there crying for a long time during and after my myelogram, so that's a worse memory than the discogram for me.

    I hope your experience isn't very bad, though by definition, it will hurt. Mine was in 2004 and maybe your facility will have improved anesth, and techniques than mine had. Medicinal things improve quickly.

    Best of luck to you!

    John M.

  • I would plan on being in a bit more pain, for a week or so, after the test. Ask the Dr. for some stronger pain meds to take home with you. Ice helped a lot at the site of the injections.

    While you are having the test, as soon as you let them know it hurts they will then inject an aesthetic to kill the pain.

    Discograms are a necessary evil, however, they can reveal a lot of what/where the problem is.

    Good luck, it will be over before you know it.

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  • Thank You VERY MUCH for your experience and sharing it with me!! It no doubt helps me with the anxiety level ,and redies me for what is about to happen.This is the only info to date that i have ,as i am waiting for approval from the insurance fund.I hope the Doctor who specializes in the procedure follows suit in regards to you procedure!! Once again thanks for ALL the replies!
  • There is little you can do to make it less painful. It is one of those tests that is what it is. It is supposed to be painful. The whole point is to verify what level the pain is at and if the disc is really generating the pain. MRI and CT scan alone is not conclusive. Discogram is a physical test. Together that should tell your surgeon what he needs.

    I've had 2 with 2 different doctors. Both have different theories. One felt keeping me moderately doped up and bringing me around when needed was good. He also gives Versed(sp?) when done. This makes you forget the whole ordeal. The other doesn't believe in that and gave me very little to no medication. It was very painful. For a short while. No worse than getting an ESI shot. However you're going to get the equivalent of 3 or 4 ESI shots one right behind the other. If you want to compare things. In an hour it is all over. Then they'll give you pain killers to numb you up. Probably send you down for a CT Scan immediately.

    After both tests, done differently. I was fine the next day and had no lingering problems like others have complained of. I went to work the next and was a bit sore. Not all doped up on pain killers. That's it.

    After 7 years of PM I should think you would be sick of it. I can't imagine waiting that long to fix the problem. Good luck.
  • I had the discogram done, and it does hurt A LOT. I don't know why, but whenever anything is done to my disk, it is horrible. This test does help to prove that it is your disk that is not good. You will be in pain for a week or so after from it, just make sure you have some extra meds for it. Good luck! :)
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