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How painful is a Discogram & is it necessary?
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How painful is a Discogram & is it necessary?

My surgeon has requested a Discogram, My problem is L3,L4, and herniated L5 S1.. I have heard that this procedure hurts really bad... Its for him to decide on a disc replacement or fusion... I have also been told not to have the replacement just a fusion... All of this will be taking place in the next two weeks.. I'm more scared over the Discogram than the surgery... can anyone help, is this necessary to have done...
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809508_tn?1257612366
So JustBree, This is Victoria, Have you had the discogram yet? I am scheduled for one this comeing tuesday the 14th of April. My main problems are c5/6 herniated and 6/7 bulging. My doct. says that he wants to replace my disc and all the info I have heard is that fusions in the neck are never a good idea. I hope I hear back from you soon. Vic.
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A discogram is a diagnostic procedure which gives very important information to the doctor treating you.  If you do not experience pain (not as awful as it might sound) at the time of the discogram, it indicates that the pain symptoms you are experiencing are not confined to the intervertebral discs themselves but may be related to other degenerative changes of the spine.  These could include facet hypertrophy (bone spurs) or structural changes in the spine such as spondylolisthesis (vertebrae have slipped in alignment).
It does give the surgeon necessary information to determine whether you are a candidate for disc replacement.  If there are degenerative changes beyond the disc itself,
fusion is usually the standard procedure.
It is helpful to determine whether the disc replacement would be successful as structural changes would necessitate a fusion.
I can understand your anxiety regarding a discogram, but knowing whether you are a candidate for disc replacement can prevent the need for further surgery should the initial procedure fail to achieve effective results.
Post again with an update and any additional questions/concerns you may  have.
Best wishes ----
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809508_tn?1257612366
I had my discogram today. It was very painful. It did give us a lot of valuable information though so I know it was worth having. I have 3 discs that are damaged. I wont get the results for a few days but with 3 discs involved does this mean that I will have to have a fusion? From all that I have researched this is the last thing that I want. I have enough pain meds in me right now so don't feel so bad but it really did hurt a lot. The first 3 hours afterward were the worst. But I think it was a good test to have done. I feel validated now, you know about my pain it is real and now there is proof. I have been to over 14 different doctors here in the last year trying to find out what was wrong with me. Two of the pain clinics I went to said that I just wanted the drugs based on the fact that I had an older brother who might have died of a drug overdose. That has made me very angry and frustrated because his lifestyle could't have been more different than mine. I felt judged and at one point last fall made a plan to end my life because I felt that I couldn't take it anymore. I just thought though that God never gives you more than you can handle something that I have believed all my life but that was a very low point for me and I hope that I never ever get there again. I am so thankful that I have found this site and I feel very supported here and it a good feeling to be able to talk about what is going on in my life Thank you for that. Victoria
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Avatar_f_tn
Congratulations on getting through a very anxious time!  Now that the discogram has been completed, the information obtained will certainly assist the doctors with a definitive diagnosis and options for treatment.
Fusion may or may not be necessary, but multi-level involvement does lean toward this option.  Being a post cervical fusion individual I can state the surgery was not as bad as I feared.  Having some difficulty with postop muscle spasms, but the majority of my pain and other pre-op symptoms were gone within 3 hrs of the surgery.
When do you have another doctor's appt to discuss the results?
Vent to your heart's content --- we are here for you!
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Avatar_m_tn
i found ths site while looking for info my dr is setting up a discogram an i am scared outta my mind can any one help with this
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hello my name is jessica. I have a lot of back pain in my lower back that has begun to radiae to my hips and down my legs. Now I am having pain in my arms as well, I have been to numerous doctors and have had the feeling that they think I am just after drugs. That couldnt be further from the truth. I hate taking anything and only want something on the worst of the days. I have not had any luck finding a doctor that will not give up until they can fix or at least help me! Reading your post gave me hope though. It may mean going to one more doctor or even 10 more, but I won't give up! If you have any advice for me, please share! I need frnds that understand what I am going through and that the pain I feel is very much real!
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1066996_tn?1255017126
I am so relieved to have found this forum. I've been suffering from pain in my neck and back for quite a while now, and finally got sent to an orthopedic surgeon who ordered two discograms- one cervical and one lumbar. The cervical was done two weeks ago, and while the recover was awful, the procedure itself wasn't too bad. However, yesterday they performed my lumbar discogram and it was awful. I cried the whole time begging them to stop. I swear it felt like I was being electrocuted. I don't mean to scare anyone that hasn't had this procedure before, I'm really just trying to figure out if anyone else had the same experience. What does it mean if you have that much pain during the test. I won't get the results until next week and all the nurse would tell me was that my back was a mess. Thanks in advance for any info provided.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am having a discogram on Thursday at levels L-2 through S-1......can`t be any worse than when I`m climbing on my road bike in the mountains and my low back is screaming with pain. I`ll probably be back on Friday to retract that statement, lol......
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Avatar_m_tn
I had my discogram without any sedation because I wanted to give an accurate description of my pain. I felt pressure in the unaffected discs, then came the bad disc! Yep, L4-L5 was the one....The procedure was`nt bad at all. It felt weird when the needles were going into the different levels.......it`s 90% mental! You can psyche yourself up or out, it`s up to the individual. I`m having a TLIF on L4-L5 March 1st.....ski season is officially over, lol! Stay calm and collected during the procedure and you`ll be fine. The more you trust your mind, the stronger you will be!
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Avatar_n_tn
IM SO SCARRED TO HAVE THE CERVICLE DISCOGRAM, I HAVE 4 DISC THAT ARE BAD, IM NOT SURE, IF I WANT THE PROCEDURE DONE, IVE HEARD SO MANY STORIES, THAT IT IS VERY PAINFUL. MT DOCTOR TOLD ME THAT IT WAS PAINFUL, PLEASE HELP ME, WITH THIS DIFFICULT DECISION TO MAKE, AND ALSO I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THEY SEDATE YOU ENOUGH, SO THE PROCEDURE IS NOT SO UNCOMPFORTABLE.
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Avatar_m_tn
This is years later after you posted and I am just now coming upon your post.  I am set to have a discogram soon and all the blogs are from people the weeks after, but none undated with whether or not, long term, it was beneficial.  What are your symptoms now?  Still having the pain?  Was it worth it?  Thank you, Melissa
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Avatar_m_tn
I had the EXACT same disc location problems with a compression fracture on the L4 as well. EXACT same ones. Thought I would be sedated while they inserted the needles in the beginning and I wasn't. The fentanyl they injected wasn't strong enough. I felt everything and it wasn't a "little pinch". That's just the setup. They do a control test. By pressurizing a "good" disc so you know what a good disc feels like, and that doesn't hurt really. Just feels like someone is pressing down on your back. Then they did the next disc and OMG did that light up my life instantly! I had to tell them which side hurt the most (left) and it burned with very very sharp pain. Imagine your worst pain day and amplify that. It's no joke. Anyone who says it's painless, didn't have any problems with their discs. You can have a herniated disc and NOT have pain from it. I had a significant tear on back side of the disc which they say they can cauterize with a hockey stick shaped needle and not use invasive surgery. The lowest disc hurt too but not as bad as my "really bad disc". This procedure helped A LOT with them finding out EXACTLY what your disc looks like while you're active during the day and moving around. Because an MRI is done while you're laying down-your discs are at a rested state, when they pressurize it with the dye, they can replicate what it's like during your regular day, but to a much greater degree. I would hate to have to do it again but very glad they found how big the tear was compared to what the MRI showed. The MRI showed a slight tear but the Discogram showed how bad it really is while I'm going about my day. Ask them to sedate you while they insert those needles in the beginning if you can!!!! Shoving needles into your back feels exactly how it sounds, if you've had Epidurals/Facet block injections without sedation, it's similar to that but a bit worse. Hate to scare any of you but I'm being 100% honest. Hope this helps and hope the best for you all. It's definitely worth it, but no picnic.
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Avatar_m_tn
Please be aware that a discogram can vary in pain on how many discs are being evaluated and the condition.  Herniated disc discograms are not to bad if your a bit tuff but if you have high grade annular tears you better be in for a very nasty day. I am sorry for saying it but when there is major discogenic pain from bad annular tears and that is your pain source this procedure will really aggitate it.  I rated mine a 8 out of 10 on the pain scale and I have had a triple fusion lumbar fusion and over 13 surgeries. Definitely on my top 3 for a diagnostic procedure.  If surgery is your last route this is a helpful test but I would not do it without serious imaging diagnostics, therapy, less invasive, etc, etc. Hope this helps. If anyone has questions email ***@**** Thanks
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