Discogram questions

Ive currently been dealing with a lot. Started off with pelvic pain which transferred into severe lower back pain. I have sever degeneration, arthritis in my facets, and a synovial cyst on my facets. I have been on pain meds for over a year and the ones ive been on are now only lasting a couple hours of taking just the edge off. Im in constant pain barely walk, cant sit straight, always leaning. I dont get any more than 3 to 5 hours of sleep. I cant lay on my back due to pressure. So i have a discogram coming up and they say if the pain they induce from the disc injections will either not be painful or be the same pain as im dealing with in a daily basis. My question is, what if the pain is more than what i deal with in a daily basis? Does this mean the disc is bad or does it lead to something else that may be wrong? Ive done everything they have asked, therapy, several different injections, im at my wits end dealing with pain for almost 2 years. My doc says if its positive they will most likely do surgery on my lower back if its negative they will look into a stimulator that is implanted and can "possibly" help with the pain. I know the discogram will hurt as i do not do well with pain but i need answers.......

19 Replies

  • Hi Kaylee. I'm sorry I don't know anything about this procedure so I can't advise. I do know about back pain though. You mention medication but have you used a Tens machine ? I find it invaluable to help with pain when medication is not working.

    How long will it be before your discography ? If it's going to be a while you could go back to your GP and ask to try different medication . You don't say what you are on at the moment but there are many different kinds. Also a pain management course can be very helpful in allowing you to both deal with your pain and also the changes its made to your life.

    I hope things improve for you and do try a Tens machine if you haven't already.


  • I have had a tens machine for about a year and if the pain is on the low end it helps but if its on the high end which is most of the time it does not help. Currently i am taking percocets and neuronton. I see the pain doctor friday which i will be talking to about my pain issues and my discogram is just over a week away. A pain pump was brought up but i really dont want that as i dont want to be on all these pain meds anymore but from reading different posts it doesnt look good.

  • Hi M, I had a discogram many years ago now and I didn't feel a thing! Try not to worry about this as you sound like you have enough to deal with right now coping with the pain. What I experienced during the discogram was getting onto the table in the op theatre having had a cannula placed in my hand and then when I was on the table they gave me sedation - I was so out of it that I don't remember what they did or the questions they asked about the pain as they probed the discs. Those drugs were awesome and I felt happy for a few days afterwards! So something to look forward to!

    On a serious note, these investigations are useful to find out how degenerated the disc is and then the consultant will be able to discuss further options with you... Do some googling and asking others on this forum about surgery so you can work out for yourself what options appeal to you. Write down any questions you have for the surgeon for when you go back after..

    I went on to have a discectomy after that and it helped to some degree but I have multi level degeneration so still have to live with chronic pain and no further surgery was possible. Keep us posted on your progress - we are all in this together on here.. 👍🏼😜🍀🍀🍀🍀

  • I have DDD on L3/4/5 & facets. I have had an MRI scan which confirmed this. I had not heard of a discogram. My consultant has said that there are people with my level of degeneration that do not have pain. This messes with my mind and I often wonder if there is anything else, muscular or anything. Would a discogram help find anything an MRI didn't or even at a more precise diagnosis. None of my meds help. Can you advise what you take. I do have to work part time so can't have anything that knocks me out & have 3 kids to look after. Find it difficult to comprehend that I have to live with the fact that I can't do a 10 minute walk to the park and back for my kids.

    Just not a good day today :-(

  • I feel you, i cannot do much either. I have been on a lot over the years and currently i am on percocets and neuronton. My mris show disc degeneration as well and i have gone through everything else my back doctor jas asked bc he does not want to do back surgery if it is not necessary. A discogram can tell the doc if it is the discs that are causing the pain or not. In my case, if it is the discs causing the extreme pain then i will have back surgery if not then they will be looking into a stimulator implant.

  • That's very interesting to know that it could be something to mention next time I see someone. My consultant says the only surgery would be a fuse of the area BUT because there are 3 discs involved he says it too many to fuse as it will put too much pressure on the upper back and he will not entertain it. The only thing he will do are epidurals. I have my 3rd one booked in for July & he says if this one doesn't give a good amount of relief as the last one didn't then he will not do anymore and I will be referred back to my GP. Like a GP is going to know what to do! Sorry for the waffle!

  • Hi O,

    MRIs show degeneration but in some cases fissures or cracks in the disc do NOT show up hence the discogram. I have to say that new generation MRI (T5? machines) DO show this level of detail but these are not available everywhere in the country.

    I think what he mean't to say (classic consultant not communicating well!) was that some discs are not painful because they do not have these fissures or splits. When you get these tears in the disc then nerves can start to grow inside creating a toxic environment which stimulates pain. So some people can merrily go about with knackered discs but some people get this 'pain syndrome' of nerve ingrowth and chemical irritation. This was my case and like you had three kids to look after and could barely function! I had the disc surgery but by that time all of my levels were stuck due to L4 disc breakdown and not being able to move and I had a complex pain picture. The surgery took away some of the pain but left me with a deflated tyre, if you like which then predisposed me to chronic facet pain and blah blah blah.

    I think you should ask him if you could have a Tesla 5 MRI (I think that's the one - you might have to google) if you want to avoid the hassle of discogram otherwise it's important to know which disc is 'broken' the others might be fine despite looking knackered. Then you can try steroid injections (these break the inflammatory cycle causing the pain) and hopefully something called rhyzolisis which burns these nerves communicating the pain... keep us posted. best wishes ;)

    I know it is heartbreaking trying to cope with all this - think about getting some meloxicam (anti-inflammatory) and duloxetine to help you cope - just temporary measures..

  • Thank you so much for your response. It amazes me that although we are not doctors, I certainly have learnt so much about the condition and treatments on this site. We all need a different view on things, especially on our bad days and you raised my low level yesterday, so thanks!

  • Thank you. I was told i cannot take my usual medication and i would have a light sedation which for me is nothing bc my pain tolerance and tolerance to meds isnt what it ise to be after being on so much for so long. He wants me to be able to feel the pain when they do it so i can let them know. He did say there was an option of getting pain meds after which i may opt for if its through iv so its fast acting. Once my pain level is at a certain point its like it can take days to come back down. I will keep everyone updated tho on what happens at both appointments. Thank you

  • They really are the worst at communicating these things - if i Iistened to half of what they said over the years I'd be in a white jacket by now. It sounds like a torture but it won't be. You might feel some discomfort but it will be short lived and you won't remember... ;)

  • Hi sometimes answers are not there from any professionals as they only deal with one problem and not you as a whole

    I have similar pain I've been 10 years + I get up and see what is going on in my body then plan what I may try or not with the symptons I pace myself not give myself to high goals anything even just picking up a towel cup etc as well as taking my painkillers adjusting my body to any position that makes life easier I mean positions that look silly to family and friends but I don't care because it's a need , I also just relax meditate and ask for healing and imagine it is helping to get through to next medication tablets alone takes it to an edge I have learned to get to really know myself , I try to keep positive and not negative because negativity makes you feel worse and not feel sorry for my problems , I had to get out and do something , so I went to a coffee morning that was free and met other people that made things a bit easier even if I had to lye on my side on floor with my cuppa as I couldn't sit on chair and I wasn't judged . I'm thinking of taking painting up that's going to be fun as I can't draw anything .

    Keep your mind occupied and look at a new hobby or even lying on grass or beach pick up a shell wood or stone feel it look at it and imagine what was in it or where it came from this is called mindfulness itfeels funny at first , take a friend or ask someone to help you up , don't be embarrassed people are wonderful when they see you need a little help

    Do it give it a try once and you will have achieved a goal

    Good luck

    Mary x

  • Hi, I had a Discogram before a radical repair to my broken L5S1 Broken Fusion ( heads sheered off screws and total collapse of vertebrae). Was a very painful test for me as they couldn't get the needle into disc space due to scar tissue. After about 6 attempts and no joy, with me hysterical.....I was transferred to the hospital surgery was scheduled at. I'm sure yours won't be like that as you have not had previous surgery, but it is notoriously a painful procedure, but doesn't take too long if they can get needle in. It is necessary to discount and % chance that may exist that would lead to you not having a positive result from any surgery they would offer......which is really a good thing for you, as in the bad ole days.....they would just fuse whether they thought you would benefit or not, As was they case with my first fusion...which I shattered 5 yrs later.....good luck and rest assured they will be as gentle and helpful as possible to limit your discomfort, though no pain relief or local can be used......u can do it. Hugs from Sandra.

  • I woildnt see why after that long why they wouldbt do the microdesectomy its from what i hear a miracle sergury an the pain goes away imiaditly and everyone says within.three weeks theybare off pain meds completly thats what im.looking into right now cause ive dealt for three years an these last two have been horrible i would rather be dead then deal with the pain its put stress on my marriage an every aspect of my life its compltly changed who i am an how i act. Im not gonna lie i act like a tit but if people.only knew they pain. Ive done reseach.an most herniated disc or maybe it was a bulging disc heal in two years an its been three for me and i refuse the injections i hate needles an my father got those and said it made it worse he started feeling pain in other places after the shots plus i feel that should be something they would suggest in the beginnng not three.years down the road at this point im ready to tell them.to throw me on the surgical table an perform sergury im at my wits end with this i hope u find some kind of help from this and can bring up that sergury to your doctor because ive been.told its a mircacle sergury u can also watch the full sergury online just go to youtube

  • I will definitely look into it! Thank you and sorry for what you are going through. I feel you on being at my wits end with this whole ordeal.

  • Sorry to tell you but a discectomy is not a guarantee to take the Pain of bulging or prolapsed/herniated disc away!!!!!

    I and many others can tell you that whilst the surgery may reduce the acute pain, it can cause scar tissue and do more damage to nerves than you start with.

    It's not a miracle cure for everybody unfortunately; I'm just trying to warn you to not get your hopes up too much.

    Of course, you may well be one of the lucky ones who get immediate & permanent relief so can 'get on with your life' as if nothing ever happened; I genuinely hope you do so you can come off all medication and be pain & symptom free but please discuss the risks with your surgeon properly if you need surgery!


  • With ddd did u feel any pain not only on the pelvic, lower back an leg pain

  • It started off as pelvic pain and went through so many tests and procedures to figure it out and there was nothing they could find. Then it went to my back, and down my legs, lots of numbness and weakness to the point of falling bc i couldnt feel my legs or feet. Now its just severe pain in my lower back with weakness in my left leg. I have severe degeneration, arthritis in my facets, and a synovial cyst on my spine.

  • Did u feel any pain going all the way up your spin into your neck ?

  • Inbox me I have same can swop tips if OK

    Mine is l4 l5 synovial cyst he'll :(

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