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Old 10-23-2008, 08:24 PM   #1
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lynn1961 HB User
Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Hi....

Just wondering if anyone could tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram. I am having this done next wed. and from what I have read about this test, it can be quite painful. I am very nervous.....
I have had several epidural injections and a RF ablation. The epidural injections was not so bad but the RF ablation was not too pleasant. I was given versed and fentyal <sp?> for the ablation and I remember everything that happened. I am so very nervous. But my understanding is.....that the discogram will determine if the pain is from the disc or not. My neuro doc is suggesting a fusion but I am totally scared of having that done. So by having this discogram....I will know more of what to do maybe....can anyone help answer the question?

 
Old 10-23-2008, 09:17 PM   #2
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Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Lynn,

I personally have not had one but I have read many threads on this subject. You can do a search by looking at the bar below the Search Button on the top Left hand corner of the page. If you look under that you will see My Settings, FAQ, etc. On that line is the Advanced Search feature and it is pretty self explanatory.

From what I have read, it is extremely painful but well worth the pain because of the answers it provides the doctor. Sometimes a level can look suspicious and not be the problem level, it can be the level that looks 100% normal that is your pain generator.

Good luck.

 
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:25 PM   #3
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Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Hi there Lynn. Looks like we are the same age. I had a discogram before my fusion surgery. I as not sedated or given anything to alleviate any pain during hte procedure. I won't sugar coat my experience. It was the most painful thing I've ever felt. BUT.. this test found the source of my pain. I have a bulging disc at L5/S1 that's been there since I was 18 years old. For 3 years.. all the surgeons I saw thought that disc was the problem child. Well it turned out by doing the discogram that disc caused me no pain at all. My surgeon injected that disc 3 times and I never even moved or made any indication that he had done anything to me. Then he injected what looked to me a healthy one above it at L4/L5. When he did I reacted by groaning in pain, my leg involuntarily flew up and off the table and I was in so much pain I wanted to get up and get off the table. It was the same pain that I had been having only it was 100x worse than usual (and my normal pain level 24/7 was about 5-7).

The L4/L5 looked normal on 3 years of MRIs. But the discogram showed it's true self, which was that the disc was blown out in the back and was so bad, that all it was, was an empty shell. The doctor was stunned but said this is why we do these tests. There was no logic to why that disc looked normal on the MRIs and that the disc was still in his normal position and had not yet collapsed, but should have.

So I was fused at L4/L5 instead of the L5/S1 that was originally planned to be fused before the discogram was done.

My doc doesnt believe in using versed or anything else for this procedure, to ensure that any pain generated or not, is not clouded by the patient being sedated in anyway.

While it's an archaic and painful test, I would have it done again if needed. This test alone was my salvation and a beginning to a normal life again. I am now 2.5 years post op and I am doing super fantastic right now. I am now about 95% improved.

I hope this helps you some and you will do just fine. Many of on here have been through this test and you will make through just like the rest of us did. And think of it this way, it's worth any amount of very short term discomfort/pain, if it can identify the source of the pain and give you a chance and ridding or reducing your pain that you've been suffering with 24/7 for so long. Think on it as a positive test, not a negative one. It helps.

Best of luck to you.
__________________
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt

L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!

 
Old 10-24-2008, 06:25 AM   #4
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Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Thank you both for responding. It helps to talk to people that has had these test done so a person will know what to expect. Gosh, I am so nervous and the test is not untill next week. I know I must get this done so we will know exactly what is causing this pain. i have tried different things to get it better but, I have had no luck. I am so depressed about this. I cannot function in a days time like I once could. I saw my neuro doc on wed. and he suggested a fusion on the 2 levels <L4-5 and L5-S1> He brought my MRI up on the screen and showed me what showed up on the MRI. He showed me an area where something was collapsed. I forget his exact words. It also showed bulging disc in both those disc. And it show tears in the lining of those disc. I also have arthritis <sp?> Several years ago, before I started having chronic pain, my back went out. It was excruitating pain but it got better in a couple days. I keep thinking back on that time and wonder if thats the pain I will feel during this test and that is what makes me so nervous. I will never forget that pain. It was excruitating to say the least.Well thank you so much for responding and I will let you know how this test goes!

Lynn

 
Old 10-24-2008, 06:45 AM   #5
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bolton12345 HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Good morning,I havent heard of the surgery they are going to perform on you.I have problems with my L-4,L-5, and S-1,I have had 2 surgerys and Im no better.I have problems that I didnt have before.Most of the people I know who have had sugery have not gotten any better.I can tell you this,after I had my 2nd surgery and the doctor came to release me,I ask for pain meds,he said I shouldve been feeling better,told him I wasnt and that my right foot and leg was numb,he wrote me a script and said he didnt no what caused that because I shouldve began to feel better.Did he give you a percentage rate,like you should feel 80% better?I wish I wouldve never had surgery.Good luck on what you decide.Your doctor should discuss the pain you will afterwards,Im assuming from what I was told you should feel better and not worse.

 
Old 10-24-2008, 06:52 AM   #6
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bolton12345 HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Ok,I looked up discogram,I had a C.T mylogram,they stuck a needle in my spine and ran dye,then done the c.t it was very uncomfortable and it did cause pain,not terrible pain but it did hurt.I was over it in a day or so.Hope this helps.

 
Old 10-24-2008, 06:56 AM   #7
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lynn1961 HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Hi Bolton....

What I am having is a test, a discogram, not surgery. They do this particular test to see if a persons back pain is generated from a disc. The test reveals all the damage to the disc. It will tell if a fusion will help a person. I surely donot want to get a fusion unless it is absolutely going to help my back pain. I am scared of having back surgery. So, I suppose I will go get this test to see exactly what is going on with the 2 disc that are the problem according to the MRI. I, too, know several people that has had back surgery and they are no better. But I donot think the people I know had this discogram done first. It sounds like a good <but painful ugh> test to have done if a doctor is suspecting a fusion is needed. Thanks for the reply

 
Old 10-24-2008, 12:14 PM   #8
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sunset56 HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Hi Lynn1961;
I've had three discograms, the last one in April of this year. I had an MRI and a CAT scan with dye, and it looked like I had one good disc left, L1. The discogram proved most of my pain was coming from L1. So I didn't have any kind of fusion...instead I've had a spinal stimulator implanted, with good results so far.
All three discograms were uncomfortable for me, but not as painful as some epidural injections that I've had. A lot depends on the doctor that is giving the test - some just have a gentler touch than others. They will numb you up before the test, how much depends on the doctor.
The real problem with discograms for me is after the test...I had discs rupture after the last two were done. Some of my discs are actually "empty" ... that is, the inner gel membrane stuff is gone, and the tests stressed things out a bit too much.
I think discograms are one of the best tests you can get, as far as finding out where your pain is really coming from...
Ask your doctor how much he/she intends to numb you before the test...and take it easy afterwards. I wish you the best of luck! Bill

 
Old 10-24-2008, 05:22 PM   #9
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lynn1961 HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Thank you Sunset for your reply.......

I will be so glad to get this behind me. I have had 3 maybe 4 epidural injections and they were not too bad. I also had the RF ablation done. That was not too pleasant but wasnot excrutiating pain neither. I have read about this discogram on several sites and every thing that I have read says it is PAINFUL. I am very nervous and I am trying to not get myself so worked up before i get it done next wed. If I understood right, seems I read that depending on the damage you have in your disc is the severity of the pain? Again, thank you for replying and I hope your back gets better!

 
Old 10-25-2008, 09:30 AM   #10
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Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Hi Lynn,

I have not been on this site for awhile.... I am also having a discogram on wed, this will be my second. My advice to you is to ask to see the Drs report, see what his findings are. If you have concordant pain that can mean that you have operable disc. My problem is that my surgeon told after my first discogram that my l4-l5 level was the only disc of concern and required fusion. However, it was not until 4 months later that I found out that all of my disc (l-3 through S-1 were injured a required fusion) this is why my first fusion at l4-l5 did not take. I would have never agreed to have a 3 level fusion the success rate is not very good, however I would of never agreed to operate on only one disc in the middle of three bad discs, duh? obviously I have a new surgeon. As for the discogram, i had terrible pain, but, it is worth it to find out whats going on in there, if only it had been handled correctly. I have great confidence in my new surgeon and know that he will be more deligent. Please ask lots of questions!!!!! Good luck and God bless
Lisa

 
Old 10-25-2008, 11:07 AM   #11
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lynn1961 HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Hi Lisa....

Not sure what you mean by concordant pain?

 
Old 10-25-2008, 11:34 AM   #12
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ramosans HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Reading into your information I wounder what is the different of "discogram and a myelogam" These two procedures willl require an injection of dye into the spinal or disk area.

 
Old 10-25-2008, 12:34 PM   #13
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lynn1961 HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Hiya Ramosans...

Not sure what a mylogram reads but a discogram is a test done on the disc. I have never had a mylogram so I am not sure what that is used for. Well, I have never had a discogram neither but my doc explained it to me. and I have researched about it.

 
Old 10-28-2008, 09:48 AM   #14
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Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Hello Lynn. I heard all of the horrible stories regarding discograms before and after I had mine. I honestly believe this is not only a case-by-case issue, but a personal pain tolerance issue as well. I had my discogram approximately 2 years ago. It confirmed that both my L4/L5 and L5/S1 discs with annural tears were (and unfortunately still are) the cause of my pain. I did not think that the discogram was nearly as bad as I had heard. I was extremely nervous as well, and I understand how you're feeling. I hope your experience is no worse than mine was. More importantly your docs will hopefully gain some useful insight into your condition and be able to find the best way to address the situation. Don't be afraid to get many opinions. I've seen 5+ surgeons regarding my issues .....

 
Old 11-02-2008, 12:29 AM   #15
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dallashoney HB User
Re: Can someone tell me what kind of pain to expect from a discogram?

Lynn, I agree with Bigblue. I was curious before having mine done and I ended up reading all the horror stories and chickened out several times and when I did go in I was so scared I almost passed out. Most folks are sedated and they only wake you for a moment and ask you questions about the pain your feeling. The procedure does hurt....but you already know that...try not to focus on it if at all possible. It will be over and your doctors will be able to better treat your pain. My doc told me if I could make it through the discogram...surgery should be a walk in the park. Though I doubt it. Try to look on the bright side....and remember sometimes to much info is not always a good thing. Best wishes!

 
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