Hello everyone. I am a lurker to this forum for quite some time. I wanted to share my discogram experience for those who are nervous and probably googling what it will be like - I hope my story calms your nerves a bit!
I am 24 years old suffering from bad bulged DDD (degenerative disc disease) at L4-L5, caused from a microdisectomy I had when I was 15 years old. I can no longer stand in one spot. I cannot stand long enough for a 5 minute shower. I have been reduced to giving up work, hobbies, and social life and currently hopeful for a surgical fix to give me my life back.
I have been brushed aside because of my age. Crying to doctors, I was finally sent to a discogram for future testing (after begging for one because I cannot live life like this)
Googling the procedure made me uneasy; alot of people said it is horrible- comparing it to childbirth and the like. I felt compelled to post my experience to counteract all the negativity. My intention is not to diminish others stories, but sometimes on the Internet there's more negative than positive. Here's a positive one:
When I went into the room, I changed into a gown and waited. I met the doctor who would be performing my discogram and tried to ease my nerves. He injected a sedative (vallium) on my shoulder. This stopped my heart from pounding and kept me calm.
The nurse brought me into the main room, similar to an epidural room. The doctor explained since my disc was bulging at the left side, he would inject the right side. He also said he would do less dye on that level to ease my pain. I climbed on the table, on my left side, a pillow under my hip and one under my neck. After sterilizing the area, the doctor said he was ready to begin. The nurse warned me to stay still, as fidgeting would only prolong the test. To keep still, I grasped the pillow as hard as I could to keep still. The needle hurt going in. Like a deep shot. It's not too terrible. It hurts, but its temporary (a second or two) It's enough to make you tear and scream "ow!"
Next he put the dye at random levels. At L3-L4, the dye felt like a weird pressure, but not painful. L5-S1, didn't feel a thing.
Next was my bad disc, L4-L5. It hurt alot. Very sharp. It was intense, I will be honest. You will see stars but again, lasting for about 5 seconds AT MOST. It doesn't linger at that intensity. I cried lightly, but was soon overcome with joy - mainly just because it was a positive test! My pain was definitely from that disc. (My mri didnt show what I needed to prove where my pain was coming from)
Back in september I experienced a very sharp pinch where I couldn't move my spine 1 inch forward or backward. I was in tears. The pain was about 4x that. But the difference? The pain ended in the discogram. The other one didnt, for hours.
After the procedure, he pulled out the needles (a slight pinch compared to the pain from before) and wheeled me on a stretcher to the CT room. I rolled onto the machine tray on my back. Took 5 minutes. I rolled back to the stretcher, and he wheeled me into a waiting area with beds. I was allowed to recover as long as I needed.
I needed pain medicine for sure. He prescribed me vicodin. My father went to fill it out and came back. He brought me back some food and I took the vicodin with it. I laid in bed for about 30 minutes. I felt some weird pinches on my right leg, perhaps a nerve was touched, but nothing major. Just very sore. The vicodin kicked in in about 15 minutes. I was able to finally sit up, slowly change back into my clothes, and managed the whole car rude home just fine!
The vicodon was amazing. I took 2 later throughout the day. By that same night I was good! I had no problems sleeping, I actually slept 10 hours from being SO mentally exhausted that my test would be negative. I am SO happy it's positive. It was worth it.
This was yesterday! Here I am the next night, doing wonderful. Aside from my usual inflammation, I am not on vicodin now and feel about 80% back to normal!
I wish you all good luck! If you're like me and reading this the night before, don't sweat it! You are strong enough to do this. If you can endure your pain, you can endure this short lived one! There's NOTHING to be scared of.