Back pain can be the result of many different conditions. Fortunately, advances in medical technology and knowledge have allowed for more efficient evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of its underlying causes. Discography, a mode of diagnostic testing, is commonly used to diagnose herniated or torn discs as a cause of back pain.
How Herniated Discs Occur: The discs of the spine, called intervertebral discs, are rubbery cushions that are seated between each bone, or vertebra, of the spinal column. These discs allow comfortable articulation of the vertebrae and also provide a certain amount of shock absorption.
As you age, the inner layer of the disc begins to dehydrate, limiting its ability to absorb shock. The firmer outer layer progressively becomes weaker as time passes, which can lead to tears in its structure. These dysfunctions can lead to a condition called disc herniation, a dysfunction in which the inner, gelatinous layer of the disc spills out through the outer layer. A herniated disc can compress nearby nerves, inflicting pain in the affected part of the body.
How Discography Can Diagnose This Condition
Discography can be a very effective way to diagnose a herniated disc as the underlying cause of chronic back pain. To perform a discography, a contrast medium, such as a fluoroscopic dye, is injected into the affected spinal disc. After the medium has been injected, computed tomography (CT) is used to evaluate the anatomy of the disc and detect any tears.
The Pain and Wellness Center of Peabody offers patients suffering from back pain comprehensive evaluation and testing options to determine the cause of their pain. If you would like to find out more about our integrative and comprehensive pain management services, call our staff today at (978) 826-7230.