Lumbar discography is an injection technique used to evaluate patients with back pain who have not responded to extensive conservative (nonsurgical) care regimens. The most common use of discography is for surgical planning prior to a lumbar fusion.
This diagnostic procedure – also called a discogram – is a controversial one.
The protagonists of discography believe the information gleaned from this examination is unobtainable any other way.
The procedure’s antagonists feel the responses evoked from disc pressurization are not useful in evaluating back pain patients.
This article does not extol the use of discography; rather it addresses some aspects of the procedure that may make a patient more at ease with what is an uncomfortable exam.