Discography, or a discogram, is an outpatient diagnostic procedure that is performed to identify painful discs in the spine. The procedure is done strictly for diagnostic purposes only. It will help your physician to determine if one of the discs, if any, in your spine is the cause for your pain symptoms. Discography will not do anything to help or alleviate your pain; it is a diagnostic test only. Sometimes a local anesthetic will be placed into the disc to help alleviate increased pain once all information is obtained from the procedure. An MRI or CT scan can suggest which disc that may be generating pain, but not always do they precisely identify the pain source. A disc can also appear abnormal on a scan, but may not be the source of the pain. Sometimes a patient may have more than one abnormal disc appearing on the MRI or CT scan. The treating physician may want to determine if pain is coming from one or all of the discs appearing abnormal in order to plan surgery or some other treatment. Many patients who require a discogram have failed improvement with other treatments, including medication, injection therapy, and physical therapy. Your physician will let you know what was found during the procedure, or if possible what is the next step in your plan of treatment. Physicians will order a cervical discogram for the neck region and a lumbar discogram for the low back.
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