A discogram is an investigation which will help your surgeon to see which level of your spine may require surgery. It is usually performed only on patients who the surgeon feels may need or benefit from spinal surgery for maybe a spinal fusion or an IDET treatment.
They enable the surgeon to determine the level of the fusion required or to confirm disc degeneration which is unclear on MRI scans. A discogram is hardly ever used to diagnose the cause of back pain.
The procedure is to create pain so you will be awake in order for you to experience the sort of pain you are in. I’ve had this done twice and although it is obviously quite uncomfortable it helps the surgeons decide on possibly some very import surgery. You are mildly sedated so you soon forget how bad it was.
It is done as a day case and you lie flat face down and a local anaesthetic (lignocaine) is put on your skin. Under xray control, the needle is advanced into the disc space in question and they dye (which is visible on xray) is then injected during which you will be asked whether this causes the type of pain you are suffering. The procedure is then repeated at another level if necessary.
This procedure can aggravate the pain for a few hours after the procedure or in my case a few days but I just increased my pain killers. The pain disappeared gradually.