The Oving Clinic
tel: 01243 773167
Open: 9AM-6PM
Tuesday: 9AM-9PM

DISCOGRAPHY

In some patients imaging such as MRI and CAT scan do not reveal the expected disc prolapse or herniation but simply show small disc bulges, degenerative changes and internal tears of the disc fibre. Some of the discs can be a source of continuing back pain and referred pain to the limb.

If the problem is severe and chronic and has not responded to standard physical therapies and other measures then the disc can be tested to diagnose whether it is the source of the exact pain the patient is complaining of.

This procedure is done as a day case under X-ray control when a spinal needle is guided into the centre of the disc under local anaesthesia. X-ray views are taken both from the back and the side to reveal the flow of radio-contrast material as it is injected into the disc.

Pressure measurements are made during the injection and the patient is asked repeatedly whether the increased pressure in the disc is causing pain (normal discs do not hurt) and if so whether the pain is similar or the same as the pain that he or she is complaining of. If this is the case a small dose of local anaesthetic and corticosteroid usually combined with antibiotic is injected into the disc to assess how long pain relief can be achieved. Some patients’ problem settle on this measure alone, so for a minority of patients it can be therapeutic.

With other patients the pain returns either within a few hours or a few weeks of the injection which indicates the need for a more permanent procedure to reduce disc pain. At the present time this usually requires referral to a spinal surgeon for an anterior fusion procedure or disc replacement, but there are now minimally invasive treatments such as nucleoplasty,cold RF/Gelstixs implants which can be done at are facility and are relatively safe although remain to be proven. Please discuss these options with Dr. Tanner at the clinic.

If you have further questions please contact us.

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