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I will see my pain management doctor in two weeks and He may let me to do lumber discogram and have injection of glucosamine and dextrose at same time. He was not very confident that the procedure can help me when I saw him last time.He just gave to me this suggestion.
I am afraid of doing discogram but looks like I have no choice. My recently MRI shows I only have some smaller herniated discs but I still have stable chroic right leg pain. I want to accept discogram because I hope it can give me a new diagnosis. If I don’t do it, right now I only can live with this pain and do nothing.
Now I need to ask some questions ,
1) Can the discogram cause serious side effect ?
2) How long normally the discogram procedure needs to take?
3) What kind of pain I will get during the procedure? ( if you can use pain scale to describe ?) Can I stop the doctor doing if the pain is unbearable ? The doctor’s nurse said they will give medication before the exam . Can the medication help a lot ?

Thanks you very much!
I can tell you about my discogram. Went into the procedure room, where they got me onto the table and gave IV pain & sedation meds. While I was sleeping they placed all the needles. They woke me up and we talked - where was I, date if birth, pain score etc - at that point I had 0 pain (I'd arrived at a 6 pain score). They then began to test the discs, they did three, not telling me which discs they were doing. One was "positive" and produced "my" pain probably at around an 8. Once the discs were tested they put my back to sleep & removed all the needles. It was no where near as bad as I had imagined and it gave us the information needed to proceed with surgery.
The procedure lasted around 30 minutes - I was asleep for most if it.
Side effects - possible infection, increased pain.

It was not the most pleasant procedure, but that said if they told me it was important to have it done again I would. The fear ahead of the procedure was worse for me than the procedure itself.

Hope this helps - good luck!
Cymrudenver,
Thank you so much for letting me know the whole procedure and your feeling , now I still have two questions to you,
1) [QUOTE] They then began to test the discs, they did three, not telling me which discs they were doing. One was "positive" and produced "my" pain probably at around an 8.[/QUOTE]
Did they ask you “where you have pain?” during the procedure ? For example, My pain is in my leg -calf area about 3-4. (I almost have no back pain). If they test me , I may have two areas pain, the one was inserted by long needle, the another is my calf area, only that one means “positive.” but either one can make me shout. If they don’t ask, how did they know where I have pain?
2) How long had the “test time” which you have 8 pain score? Has it several seconds or several minutes?

Thanks!
All of us with back issues have our "own" pain. Whether it's in your back, buttocks, upper legs, lower legs etc. What they will tell you is that they want to know if they cause "your" pain. You have to separate from any discomfort in your back - I felt no back pain during my test because they use local anesthetic before placing the needles - from your usual everyday, making your life miserable pain! When they reproduced "my" pain they stopped putting pressure on the disc immediately and I was back asleep fairly soon after maybe a minute or two. My pain down my buttocks and legs lasted for maybe a minute, they are very specific to make sure they are creating your pain. Hope this helps - let me know if I can clarify anything else
Thank you so much that you exactly explained my questions , Now I know there is no pain will be happened in inserted area because local anesthetic but I havn't known it until now. So only one kind of pain should be happened is our “own” pain.

Thanks again!
Exactly, good luck x
Cymrudenver,

First , I like to you if you and bringers are feeling better. Your situation will affect the my confidence to do discogram.
I called my doctor office today and scheduled that I will see my doctor on 10/11 and will do discogram and injection on 10/25. The procedure will start on 2:30 PM and I need to arrive the clinic before 1:30pm. When I asked the nurse if I can take lunch because it is said I will get IV , She said no IV will give to me but they will give to me a injected “numb” medication. So . I still can take lunch and no any other preparation needed . Her words made me think that it is looks like I will not “ sleep” like you were and worry how the medications can release that 8-9 score pain.
O, I just changed my user name before yesterday.

Thanks!
The most accurate online statement I read was: "It wasn't as bad as Googe made me fear." It wasn't fun, but the doc was careful to only cause the pain needed to diagnose. He said the answers when he asked were that 1) I felt nothing; 2) pressure, no pain; 3) "new" or different pain; or 4) my usual pain.

I did spur a migraine after which can happen so keep migraine meds on hand if you get them. Beyond that, sore a couple days and then fine.

I did have an IV, including anti-anxiety stuff thrown in b/c I was nervous, but was not asleep at all.
[QUOTE=efeng;4843557]Cymrudenver,

First , I like to you if you and bringers are feeling better. Your situation will affect the my confidence to do discogram.
I called my doctor office today and scheduled that I will see my doctor on 10/11 and will do discogram and injection on 10/25. The procedure will start on 2:30 PM and I need to arrive the clinic before 1:30pm. When I asked the nurse if I can take lunch because it is said I will get IV , She said no IV will give to me but they will give to me a injected “numb” medication. So . I still can take lunch and no any other preparation needed . Her words made me think that it is looks like I will not “ sleep” like you were and worry how the medications can release that 8-9 score pain.
O, I just changed my user name before yesterday.

Thanks![/QUOTE]

I'm so sorry your procedure is being done differently than mine was. I think the most important thing for you to focus on is that these people really do care about making this uncomfortable procedure as good as it can be. This is a stepping stone toward finding your best options for recovery. You can do this, I'll be thinking of you x
Cheryl1213
[QUOTE] He said the answers when he asked were that 1) I felt nothing; 2) pressure, no pain; 3) "new" or different pain; or 4) my usual pain.[QUOTE]
Do you only need to answer the number 1), 2), 4) except 3) need to explain when he tested you ? What you think the max pain score he gave to you?

Cymrudenver,
Thanks for reply. Now I only can trust my doctor who will not
give to me too much pain and don't take too long. I believe he doesn't want his patient run out from the table.
Thanks!
Yes, the answers were during the test b/c he did several diff attempts. He wanted to confirm and did use one disc we did not suspect as kind of a "control"...he didn't tell me so what was what so I didn't get any sort of mental influence on the reply. The other disc gave very little pain or a bit of different pain, the disc that was the bad guy gave my usual pain. I honestly don't think it got higher than a 6 or so but don't recall for sure. Every day pain ofter hovered at a 7 those days so it was deal-able. Fear was MUCH worse than the discogram (and the IV since I'm a needle-phobe)
I don't know where the others got their discogram done, but I wish I had gone there!! I don't want to scare you, but when I had mine in April, I was taken into the room, strapped onto my side onto the bed. Was given NO anesthesia or anything. I cannot begin to tell you the pain of having him insert the needles and can guarantee I will NEVER have another one!!! He tested my 5 lumbar discs of which I gave a positive result on 4 of the discs.

PLEASE call and find out ahead of time whether you will receive anesthesia or not and if they tell you no, insist on it or find someplace that will!!!
I never heard of anesthesia for a disco prior to this thread. They need you to be awake and to have the ability to feel things. They gave me a bit of an anti-anxiety med in the IV but I had to hold off on all pain meds that morning (it was around 2 or so).

It is an important test. It is, from what I have read, the best way to really be sure the disc is the culprit. Discs can look bad on an MRI but not be painful...plenty of pain-free adults will show issues on an MRI. The disco ensures they get the culprit and is better than a wrong/unneeded surgery. You want surgery to be as on-point as possible...never a guarantee, but got to get the best you can.

I hate to say it on the internet (and b/c i'm horrid at it) but I wish I had avoided the internet temptation pre-disco. It didn't help. Of course, the right doc always helps. And everyone will vary in their exp. I think this board is more mixed b/c it has folks with more in-depth stories. But on other sites you are MUCH more likely to see people post a scary story than one that went fine...just less likely to go online for that.

NOT trying to devalue the pain of a bad exp at all. I have no doubt it hurt like hell for some folks. But I don't think it is a throw-away procedure (and those certainly exist) and I just think it is best to relax as much as possible. I was a mess...I'll be honest...I am a TOTAL needle-phobe and the IV didn't go easily for me....but you WILL get past it. And it will have purpose.
I have to agree that although my discogram was pure hell, it gave my doctor a clear picture of what he had to deal with. Prior to the discogram, we were only looking at L5/S1 and he ordered it after several failed epidural injections. My discogram revealed my. L2 thru S1 were all bad and I had a 4 level lumbar fusion in July.
finzzzup,

You are only one person I knew who did discogram without any medication’s help. I like to know how big score pain you got ( 6-7 ? I just knew after surgery is 8-9 below 5 doesn’t need pain meds) and how long you were under this kind of pain? Did you try to stop you doctor during the test? I guess the patient may was tied by balt on the table in order to prevent run down the table. But if you were still finished the test,
the pain may wasn’t “un-bearable”.
Now I have no way to know what is different which release pain between IV and injected numb medications. I just hope they use local anesthesia in needle insert area like Cymrudenver got otherwise I may get more than one
pain at same time. I can try to ask question to the doctor’s nurse but looks like the she dosen’t want me know too much detail information.

Thanks!
I'm sorry it took so long to respond. After getting thru the initial pain of having the needles inserted, I was given a moment to breathe. I did have an IV, although no meds were administered (it was in case they needed to give me something for an emergency situation), and they had an oxygen mask nearby as well. When he "pressurized" the first disc and administered the dye, I didn't know he even did it, which meant that disc was not causing pain. The second, third, fourth and fifth, however, were a different story. the second and third were the worst and I nearly passed out from the pain. They had to put the oxygen mask on my face for a few minutes before they could go on. I finally made it thru the test and they were able to inject some pain meds into the iv. The test went quickly (after the needles were in), although it felt like forever!!! According to the paperwork from the discogram, it says my L2 was fine, L3/L4 were ruptured, L5/S1 were torn. They did a CT scan an hour later and you could see the dye leaking around the L3/4.

My best advice is to call ahead and ask questions about the procedure. That way you won't sit and worry about something you aren't sure of! I wish you the best of luck with the test! Please let me know how it goes!
Finzzzup,

Thank you for letting me know your whole story. You are the first person I knew who needs to use oxygen mask during discogram Now I like to know, did they let you to lie face down or face to right or left ? I think should be face down because the doctor need to insert needle under x-ray. Can face down cause breath difficultly when getting serious pain ?
I will try to ask question before I do procedure, but worry about if I ask too many detail , my doctor or nurse may think I am a difficult patient and refuse me to do the procedure. Right now my new MRI shows I am not a good surgery candidate because there is only a smaller herniated in L5-s1, but looks like L3-L4 also has a little herniated disc. My pain management doctor said no one like to do surgery to me unless I accept a big fusion. I hope discogram can find which disc exactly cause leg pain and maybe I can do a minimally invasive surgery instead of fusion. Do know my idea is possible or impossible.

Thanks!
No problem.. I hope my answers helped you understand the procedure at little better. You will be on your side as the needles will go from the side into the disc (yes, I was under that assumption too... that the discs where so close to the skin in the middle of my back; how hard could it be... boy was I wrong... LOL). They inserted the needles in a row down the side of my back. I wish we could post pictures here as I have pictures of my back after the procedure. I needed oxygen after the procedure because my pain level was so high I was having trouble breathing.... not a fun day for me!!! If your doctor recommends a large fusion, do your homework first and make sure that is absolutely the last thing they can do to help, as I had a 4-level lumbar fusion in July, and if you search my other posts you will see how that went! I actually had a nerve block today to try and help with the nerve pain in my leg and back, and I am happy to say that it did help a lot! I have probably 20-30 percent of the pain left, but it's better than before so I am not complaining!!!
Did you get local anaesthesia where the needle inserted? they should give to you , even Epidural injection still use this.
My PM tried to use surgery to scare me . He sent me a note said
"The patient is not a good surgical candidate unless he wants to go through a
major fusion and I do not think that the symptoms warrant that."

Thanks!
I had absolutely NO anesthesia, period, which shocked me!!! I was surprised later to find out that other doctors used general anesthesia to insert the needles then would bring you out of it to to the actual test... as I said.. never again would that doctor do one on me!!!

You cold take what your doctor is saying two ways... my doctor and I discussed my options at length and I was sorta in the same boat as you. He told me we could bandaid the problem and fix the worst two discs, but he assured me I would still be in pain and would probably be right back in within a year to get the other two done. I opted to get them all done at once. You probably need to go to your doctor and lay all your cards on the table and tell him you want answers.. Otherwise, I would seek a second opinion.
I had absolutely NO anesthesia, period, which shocked me!!! I was surprised later to find out that other doctors used general anesthesia to insert the needles then would bring you out of it to to the actual test... as I said.. never again would that doctor do one on me!!!

You cold take what your doctor is saying two ways... my doctor and I discussed my options at length and I was sorta in the same boat as you. He told me we could bandaid the problem and fix the worst two discs, but he assured me I would still be in pain and would probably be right back in within a year to get the other two done. I opted to get them all done at once. You probably need to go to your doctor and lay all your cards on the table and tell him you want answers.. Otherwise, I would seek a second opinion.
FYI -- I was on my belly. They may have done a little novicaine for the skin but not "real" anesthesia.
finzzzup,
I saw your message, thanks!

Does any one see the needle when the doctor did procedure to you ? Would you please recall how thick it is . Is it a little bit soft or hard? I wonder when the needle was insert into the “ problem disc”, you should feel pain right away .If the doctor wants to know which dick cause the pain, his objective already was achieved now. If he stop inserting and take the needle out , patient should not feel too much pain. Why did some patient felt so un-bearable pain?

Thanks!
Had my discogram 30 yrs ago and it was the most painful experience of my life. No anesthesia was ever used years ago. The machine was not working properly and they had to remove all the needles and wait till another machine was brought to the floor. The pressure in my worse disc would not release and I was a slobbering moaning mess.

I did have a spinal fusion after the test results came through positive. You can never predict the amount of pain an individual is going to experience as it all depends on the damage of the disc. Also I feel some kind of sedation should be the standard. I was told back then that they had to determine the amount of pain generated in order to diagnose properly.

Believe me that kind of pain you will be able to feel through sedation although it should take the edge off. After my experience I feel a discogram given without any sedation is akin to medieval torture.
I will see my doctor tomorrow to discuss if he wants me do discogram or not.
So far I only know there are two different kinds of anesthesia for the procedure. One is that the patient will receive intravenous sedation and analgesia. He/she can be sleepy while the needle are placed, but
during the discogram injection, need to be awake enough to tell the doctor what he/she is feeling.
The another one is that the patient will not be received any sedation and will be awake all the time , only get local anesthesia to numb the skin. I think the first one may easy to tolerate , but don’t know if patient is able to answer the question correctly becasue he/she was just from sleepy to awake.

Thanks!
I will do discogram on Oct 25. The procedure will have no sedation only local anesthesia to numb the skin . It will take about half hour. the nurse let me take Valium 5 MG 1-2 tabs 30 minutes prior to procedure. the nurse will give me antibiotic by injection. Thanks!
I still have one question don't understand, if the doctor wants
to test which disc is bulging and causing the pain, he only needs to insert the needle to touch the " problem area" once and let patient to feel pain, that is enough. Because patient can tell "this is my usual pain " no matter it is pain scale 3,4 or 8. Why does he needs to make patient to feel " very painful" ?





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