Alex Simotas, MD

Hospital for Special Surgery
Board Certified Physiatrist
Specializing In Spine & Sports Medicine

Home > Diagnosis > Discography

Discography

Discography is a test used to determine whether the disc, the cushioning pads that separate the bones of the spine, is the source of pain in patients with predominantly axial back or neck pain.

During the discography, a contrast medium is injected into the disc and the patient’s response to the injection is noted; provocation of pain that is similar to the patient’s existing back or neck pain suggests that the disc might the source of the pain.

Before the procedure begins, you will be given antibiotics and relaxation medications through an IV line. Medication is used to numb the skin over the test site. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a needle into one or more discs and injects a contrast dye. You’ll feel pain when the dye is introduced into the problem disc. Afterward, a CT scan will show any changes in the disc size or shape. You may experience some muscle discomfort after the procedure; your doctor can prescribe pain relievers to ease the discomfort. No special preparations are required for this test. However, you should not take any pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications on the day of the procedure.