Veteran's Health Library Menu

Health Encyclopedia

Discogram: During the Test

You are asked to lie on your stomach on an exam table. You may be given medication to help you relax. The healthcare provider cleans your lower back and covers the area with sterile drapes. The region is numbed with medication. A needle is placed into each disc being tested. Then contrast fluid is injected into one of the discs in your spine.

Note: A discogram may be painful. But it can give your healthcare provider vital information to help plan your treatment.

Patient lying on stomach under x-ray machine. Two healthcare providers in lead aprons are preparing machine and do procedure on patient's back.

X-ray of spine with disk highlighted in black.
A discogram image shows damage to the disc.

What to Expect

  • If there is damage to the disc, you will feel pain when the fluid is injected. The healthcare provider will ask whether this pain is in the same place as the pain that you usually feel.

  • The pain may be worse than your usual pain. Make sure to tell the healthcare provider how you feel.

  • A picture of the disc is taken using special x-ray guidance.

  • At least two of your discs will be tested. This is so the results of the two tests can be compared.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
Disclaimer - Opens 'Disclaimer' in Dialog Window | Help | About Veterans Health Library