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How bad is a discogram?

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Old 03-10-2005, 09:34 AM   #1
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rowboat HB User
How bad is a discogram?

My neuro is sending me for a discogram to try to confirm that my L5-S1 is the source of all my pain. The MRI shows that the disc is totally gone, and therefore no longer compressing my sciatic nerve, but I have excruciating pain in my back. From what I've read on the net, it doesn't sound like this test is going to be a whole lot of fun. I'm just hoping that it shows the doctor whatever it is he needs to see to be able to fix me!



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Old 03-10-2005, 10:00 AM   #2
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motmcd HB User
Re: How bad is a discogram?

Don't bother too much about the pain. It may challenge you, but it's not that bad. The tempory discomfort you feel quickly looses out to the value of information your doctor will gather from the discogram.

Old 03-10-2005, 11:58 AM   #3
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Bionicwan HB User
Re: How bad is a discogram?


Do you have back pain only???

as for the discogram - NO fun, but mine wasn't near as bad as some I've heard of.

I agree with MOTMCD - it's a small price to pay for the wealth of info it provides.

Good Luck

Old 03-10-2005, 03:24 PM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Rampage HB User
Re: How bad is a discogram?

mine hurt like HELL, but that's b/c my problem was a 9-10.

to better explain, the discogram seems to mimic you maximum pain. so if you normally experience pain at the 4-5 level, then that's what you'll feel. if your disc is normal (they'll inject normal discs for comparison purposes). since my annular tear was a 9-10 at my worst, that's what i felt. of course, the disc appeared "normal" in all 5 mris, so it was probably the shock value that added to the pain!

again, just my personal experience...others have very different experiences. but if they don't know what's causing your back pain, and mris, etc. haven't found anything, then it's definitely worth it.

keep us posted!
Accident '00
Sciatica, L3-4 Tear, Spinal Stenosis, DDD L3-S1
IDET '04
Laminectomy '06
Fusion (BMP) L4-5 '11
Anterior Fusion (BMP) L3-S1 '13

Old 03-10-2005, 03:35 PM   #5
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jdlfmc HB Userjdlfmc HB User
Re: How bad is a discogram?

I've had 2 I had to have a repeat because the first dr over sedated me and I passed out on the table, you need to to be alert enough to communicate with the dr and tell what and where the pain is, so mkae sure you are not over sedated..
It is painful and they say that the worse paon willnot be any worse then the worse pain you have I beg to dif a little on that but I will say however a good dr will not ler you suffer okay.
Also if you are having a problem with a diagnosis this is a good diagnostic procedure. Also a discogram should only be preformed if they believe surgery is to be the next step and your willing to go that route.
Wish you much luck and even though it's no cake walk know the pain will pass and hopefully you will be better informed from it.

Last edited by jdlfmc; 03-10-2005 at 03:35 PM.

Old 03-10-2005, 11:23 PM   #6
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Read66 HB User
Re: How bad is a discogram?

Not to scare you, but like rampage, My discogram hurt like hell. It was worse than my worse pain. They checked my L3-4 L4-5 S1-5 The first one imitated my normal pain. The second one L4-5, which is where my tear is, sent me through the roof. It felt like my back was breaking. I was scared when he started the 3rd one, but felt nothing. The intense pain lasted about 3-4 minutes than although it really hurt, it was better. Just remember, they get valuable info from the discogram and it is fairly quick.
Good luck

Old 03-11-2005, 06:04 AM   #7
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rowboat HB User
Re: How bad is a discogram?

thanks for all the helpful info. I'm just so tired of being in pain. This has been going on for 2 years. It started when the disc was bulged and compressing the sciatic nerve. I had pain down my leg. But by the time I had the MRI and they said I should have surgery, I was going to physical therapy, and the pain in my leg was gone. Now the pain is only in my back and the new MRI shows the bulged disc is completely gone. I've had 2 series of injections, physical therapy, pool therapy...I've done about everything I can. This neuro is actually the third one I've seen. But he's also the first one who has said surgery might help. something has to! I have 3 young girls at home. I need to be a mommy!

Thanks again!


Old 03-11-2005, 01:11 PM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Arkansas
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PsychLea HB User
Re: How bad is a discogram?

I've had 2 discograms and both times it went really well. They sedated me just right. When it came time to test the discs (3 of them) they brought me up out of sedation long enough to respond, then put me back out. I remember screaming, but truly did not remember the pain during the test.

See if your doc can give you something. It is possible to have a good discogram and be comfortable too.

They should do a CT scan afterwards to check the discs and see if the dye leak out, indicating a tear.

Good luck. It's so hard being a mommy and a back painer
God bless,


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