A discogram is a procedure used to diagnose the cause of chronic back pain. The procedure is invasive and is generally only recommended for patients who have not recovered from pain after a period of at least several months. In order to prevent discogram pain during the procedure, the doctor will administer a local anesthetic. In spite of this, many patients experience some level of pain and discomfort after the procedure. Post discogram pain can be treated with a number of over-the-counter and natural remedies.
The local anesthesia that the doctor administers to a patient before performing a discogram numbs the area from the skin to the surface of the disc. One or two needles are then used to inject contrast dye into the patient. If the disc is undamaged, the anesthetic is usually enough to treat pain during the procedure. Occasionally, the patient will experience pain similar to what he normally experiences in the affected disc. A patient who does experience pain during the procedure should alert the doctor so that the pain can be dealt with.
After the discogram, which generally takes about an hour, the patient will need to remain in a recovery room for at least thirty minutes. It is normal for the a patient to experience pain at this point, and he may be given pain medication. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are commonly offered to patients after the procedure, while the anesthetic is wearing off.
Discogram pain may linger for a few days after the procedure. One possible treatment is to use a cold pack. It should be applied to the affected section of the back for 15 minutes at a time and repeated every two hours. Cold pack treatment is most effective when performed for the first 12 hours after the discogram.
Patients may also want to continue taking over-the-counter pain medications in order to manage discogram pain over the next few days. Occasionally, a doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medication, such as a narcotic, for a couple of days. The pain from the discogram procedure should go away relatively quickly, but the pain that the discogram was used to evaluate will still be present. The patient will need to follow-up with a doctor after the discogram to plan how to best treat the cause of the pain that led to the procedure in the first place.