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Discography for Low Back Pain - Topic Overview

Discography is a medical procedure that involves injecting a dye into the jellylike center of a spinal disc to help diagnose back problems.

During discography, a doctor looks at the amount of pressure needed to inject the dye into the disc, whether it causes pain that is the same as your regular pain, how much dye is used, and how the dye appears on X-ray after it is inside the disc.

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To diagnose back pain -- unless you are totally immobilized from a back injury -- your doctor probably will test your range of motion and nerve function and touch your body to locate the area of discomfort. Sometimes blood and urine tests are performed to make sure that the back pain is not caused by an infection or other more widespread medical problem. If your symptoms persist more than four to six weeks, you have suffered trauma. Or, if your doctor suspects a serious cause behind the back pain,...

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Most people have changes to their spinal discs as they age, but these changes usually do not cause any symptoms.

Discography has been largely replaced by simpler and more effective methods for basic testing. It is sometimes still used in hard-to-diagnose cases or before surgery. Discography may increase the risk of having disc problems.1 Most experts no longer recommend it.2 If your doctor recommends discography, experts recommend getting a second opinion before having this test.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 15, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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