Is a Discogram Painful?

By: Dr. Jerry Lewis


We understand that people worry about the pain associated with getting a diagnostic test. While a discogram (discography) can involve some discomfort, it's necessary so Dr. Jerry Lewis can recommend an appropriate treatment plan. Our professionals at Lewis Pain & Physical Medicine work diligently to ensure a comfortable experience for everyone who suffers from chronic back pain. 

 Do you have questions about getting a discogram? We strongly recommend discussing any hesitations or concerns with us during an assessment in Frisco, TX. A consultation is the best way to gain insight into our processes and what to expect. 

What is a discogram? 

The discs that cushion your vertebrae can become damaged due to trauma or a degenerative disease. However, the back pain associated with disc damage is challenging to diagnose. A discogram is a test that provides our medical professionals with a clear image of your spine. It helps Dr. Lewis determine which discs are affected and pinpoint the precise source of your discomfort. 

A discography is more detailed than a standard MRI, but it's still considered an invasive procedure. Our staff will need to perform an assessment and discuss your medical history before scheduling a discogram. We'll go over the risks and benefits associated with this test before moving forward. 

What happens during a discogram? Is it painful? 

A discogram is an outpatient procedure and involves the use of a sedative and local anesthetic so patients can feel at ease. During the test, Dr. Lewis carefully inserts a needle into the disc that is being inspected. A special dye is then injected into the area. The dye can be seen on x-rays and should indicate which discs are affected by pain. Our team will be able to create a personalized treatment plan based on your results. 

The process itself should not feel too painful, but patients in Frisco, TX will receive corticosteroid injections to reduce discomfort after the discogram is completed. We then observe your recovery for about 30 – 60 minutes before you return home to rest. 

What is recovery like after a discogram? 

Someone will need to drive you home from your appointment since the sedative can make you drowsy. Most people experience soreness and pain after their diagnostic test, but these side effects should subside within several hours. Dr. Lewis provides a detailed list of recovery instructions and may suggest using pain relievers or hot/cold packs for a few days. 

Here are some additional tips to ensure a smooth recovery after discography:  

  • Avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting: Take it easy and avoid strenuous physical activities until you are cleared by Dr. Lewis or a member of our staff. 
  • Get plenty of rest: Rest as much as possible to give your body a chance to recover, and make sure you get enough sleep at night. 
  • Call if you are concerned: Contact our office right away if you experience extreme back pain after treatment. 

Pinpoint the source of your pain 

A diagnostic test like a discogram is the first and one of the most important steps in addressing your chronic back pain. Anyone who experiences persistent pain should call Lewis Pain & Physical Medicine in Frisco, TX to book an assessment with Dr. Jerry Lewis. We provide comprehensive care and will ensure you are comfortable before, during, and after your discogram.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.