Discography is a diagnostic test your doctor uses to find out if your neck or back pain is being caused by damaged spinal discs. It’s also called a discogram.

The procedure

The doctor uses a special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy to place a small needle in each spinal disc to be tested. The doctor then injects a sterile liquid that’s visible on the X-ray.

If a disc is the source of your pain, the injection should cause the same pain. The doctor uses the test to tell which disc is causing pain and to help decide on the best treatment. You also might have other tests, such as X-rays or a CT scan.

This is an outpatient procedure that usually takes less than an hour. You will be given sedation and local anesthetic.

Your pain might get worse for a few days or a week after discography. Your doctor can prescribe medication. You should not eat before the procedure, and you will need someone to take you home afterward. Specialists at the OHSU Spine Center will explain the procedure and follow-up care in more detail.

Conditions this may be recommended for