I just had one of these test, and it showed a disc that they thought was good to be bad, as well as the one that they thought was bad. Go ahead and have the test, it's not as bad as some people say it is, although it isn't a fun thing to do. My doctor gave me pain meds as soon as I told him where and how the pain was. Also, I was in alot of pain for about a week afterwards, but he gave me pain meds to take.Hope it goes well for you.
After they do the test, they will more than likely do a CT scan to see how much dye your discs are retaining. This will also show them how much disc space you have left. So go ahead and have the discogram done, for me it was more than worth it. Good luck!
I would do mine again in a heartbeat!
To answer your question, they used live x-ray and could see where the needle was and the location of any leaks,thing's like that.
I never knew how bad things actually were (in my back). The test is nothing, they put in an IV, and when I got to the procedure room, they put a covering over my back and told me he was going to numb a couple area's and would feel like a bee sting. About the 5th one, I told him he really needed an exterminator in there for all those bee's .
I never felt a needle go in. When one hit a bad disk my legs went numb (scary) but it was only for a second so don't worry, they told me it was ok.
My back went out within seconds and they instantly ask if it was the same pain or a different pain, it was the same. They quickly put versed and Demerol in my IV line. Where I went I had to stay in recovery for 8 hours, I decided to take a nap, but my hip wouldn't stop hurting so they gave me 2mg of morphine, I turned onto my side, fell asleep, woke up a few hours later to a turkey & cheese sandwich with all the toppings, chips, sliced peaches and 2 soda's. I told them I was fine and going home, it was 7 hours, but said it was ok and helped me off the gurney to get dressed, a bit wobbly from the drugs, but able to walk to the bathroom, get dressed and ride home, I also had a script for home.
The whole test doesn't take more than 10 minutes. They do a CT Scan to see how much dye is leaking if any.
There are alot worse tests, But this one is worth it.
So when they do this test, if I dont have any pain, then its my DDD? What if i DO have pain cant it still be my DDD giving me the aching pain I have? I really dont have too much sharp pain anymore unless I twist or bend my back certain ways. I have tons of aching pain though. The only thing that makes me think it might still be the hernination is the fact that the pain is on only one side, not in the middle.
This test will either cause the same pain, which is what they need to know and if it does they will make a report of the disk number, if it does not recreate any pain at all, most likely it is a muscle problem.
I went in there afraid nothing would happen and I still wouldn't know why my back was going out, but the second the needle touched the outer edge of the disk, my back went out in a split second. But they have to know if it is the EXACT same pain you usually feel. Mine was.
Ok, Let me see if I can re-word it a bit.
When my back goes out,I never know when it will happen or what causes it, but it is a very sharp pain and instant muscle spasms trying to protect the spine, I am unable to move due to the pain. Yet everyday I have mild to moderate back pain, sorta like waiting for it to slip out of place again, I never know when that will happen-THEY can make that happen.
During the Diskogram I had I never felt the first needle go in and nothing happened. The second one threw my back out, the same exact sharp pain I get at home, it went out so quickly along with the muscle spasm, was very painful, the third needle gave me a really bad ache across my back.
They went from the lowest level up,one at a time.
I was given strong pain meds.
The painful part is how quick they can set something off in your back and since they numb where the needles go, you don't know what will happen till they hit a bad disk.
I hope this explains it a little better.
You can't really say back pain is back pain, because there are some days when things are alot worse, or ( a bad day ). Those needle placements are to reproduce your WORST day. And you don't expect it.
I hope this helps,