The DFW Spine Institute, Specializing in Laser, strives to provide effective treatment by accurately diagnosing the root cause of back pain. We offer diagnosis, pain management, and minimally invasive treatment options to patients in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. One of the diagnostic tools that our experienced specialists utilize is discography.

What is Discography?


The human spine is a complex structure and when back pain originates in the spine, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging test, is a common part of the diagnostic process for patients with back or neck pain. An MRI is a valuable tool that will allow your doctor to assess any spinal abnormalities. However, it cannot always show definitively which issues are causing which symptoms. The discs in our spines can show abnormalities due to age or injury and a discography, or discogram, procedure can help determine if a particular disc is the cause of pain.

What Should I Expect From A Discogram Procedure?

The area to be treated will depend on the location of the disc that your doctor suspects to be the cause of your pain. A cervical discography is performed on the neck with the patient lying on their back; a thoracic discography for the upper to mid back, or a lumbar discography for lower back, are performed with the patient lying on their stomach. A topical anesthetic will be applied and you may be given a sedative to help you relax during the procedure. The doctor will then use x-ray imaging to insert needles filled with medical dye into the discs. If the needle is inserted into a disc that is not the cause of ongoing pain, then you should not feel any discomfort. When the needle is inserted into the disc that is the source of your pain you will feel temporary pain or discomfort.

Discography Results and Recovery

A discography is a functional test, which means that your usual pain symptoms will be reproduced in order to correctly diagnose the source of your pain. You should expect to devote at least one day to recovery. You may be given pain medication to alleviate discomfort. Patients typically resume regular activities two days after the discography. Your doctor will carefully analyze the discography results and discuss a personalized treatment plan based on the outcome.

Am I A Candidate For Discography?

Discography is typically reserved for patients who have been unable to find relief from other diagnostic methods or first-line treatment approaches. If you have had MRI results that are inconclusive and your doctor suspects that a disc issue is the cause of pain, then a discography may be recommended.

At DFW Spine Institute, we’re here for you. Contact us if you have questions about discography, or other diagnosis and treatment methods for neck or back pain.

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