There are multiple diseases and conditions that can impact the spinal discs and result in chronic pain. X-rays, MRIs and other imaging can identify abnormal discs but may not be accurate at determining which discs are causing the pain. When other diagnostic tools are ineffective at pinpointing the source of neck or back pain, a diagnostic discography may be recommended. The DOCS Health medical center in Los Angeles uses diagnostic discography as one of our tools to identify the source of chronic pain.
Damaged spinal discs can put pressure on nerves in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including chronic pain. When multiple discs have damage from degenerative disease or injury, it can be difficult to determine which is the source of pain. If conservative treatments are ineffective at managing pain, it may be necessary to use more aggressive diagnostic tools to pinpoint the source of pain to begin an effective treatment plan.
Spinal Disc Injections
Diagnostic discography uses injection of dye into the damaged discs to identify the source of pain. The patient will receive a local anesthetic but is usually awake during the procedure to offer feedback on their sensations while the injections are performed. The injection needle is guided by imaging to the damaged discs. The dye is injected into the disc to highlight tears, bulges and other damage to the disc. The dye may also irritate a disc that is causing pain, which may be noticeable by the patient.
Imaging during the disc injections can show if there are tears or herniations that are allowing gel from inside the disc to leak or protrude, irritating the surrounding nerves. The sensations felt by the patient during the procedure can also offer diagnostic information on the source of pain.
If you have damaged spinal discs that are causing pain, but the exact source is still unknown, diagnostic discography could aid in determining the best treatment plan. Our pain management experts at DOCS Health offer advanced diagnostic tools and chronic pain treatments at our medical center. Contact our office in Beverly Hills, CA, to schedule a consultation to discuss your neck or back pain condition.