When is a Discogram Helpful in Treating Spine Pain?
Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 14, 2014
If you suffer from spine or back pain you have likely heard the term “discogram” before. It is a common diagnostic procedure used to get a better picture of the affected areas of the spine. But is a discogram always necessary? In this article, we discuss when a discogram may be helpful in diagnosing and treating spine pain.
What is a Discogram?
A discogram is a procedure that medical professionals use to diagnose certain conditions of the spine. The procedure involves injecting x-ray dye into the spinal discs. A special x-ray is then taken of the spine. The injected dye helps the physician identify any abnormalities in the spinal discs, such as tears, or slipped discs. Discograms can be incredibly helpful to surgeons as they make recommendations to the patient regarding specific procedures. Discograms can also help surgeons identify the extent of damage to discs and determine which discs need surgical intervention.
The discogram procedure is considered very safe. That said, the procedure itself can be painful and possibly lead to infection, headaches, nausea, and other complications.
Does all Spine Pain Require a Discogram?
Due to the pain and potential complications involved in the procedure, some patients are hesitant to undergo a discogram. So are discograms required to diagnose all back pain? In short, no. There are numerous diagnostic tools and procedures a physician can use to determine the cause of your spine pain. Diagnostic imaging tests, such as CT scans and MRIs can be helpful in identifying the root of your back pain.
If you are concerned about the risks of a discogram, talk about your reservations with your surgeon. They will not force you into anything you are uncomfortable with.
Discograms may carry a certain amount of pain, but it may be necessary to effectively identify and treat your spine condition. Ask yourself if a little bit of pain now is worth long-lasting back pain relief.