You might not give much thought to the discs in your spine -- until one of them acts up and causes you pain. The problem is that it’s not always easy to identify exactly which disc is the culprit, which makes treatment a little tricky.
Dr. Jason Chiu at The Painless Center specializes in a technique that goes beyond traditional tests and gets to the bottom of your back pain — discography. If other procedures have failed to pinpoint the source of your pain, a discogram may be your best bet.
With Dr. Chiu’s expertise and two locations in Fort Lee and Carlstadt, New Jersey, figuring out your back pain is finally within your reach.
Understanding why your lower back hurts
Your discs are important to the health of your back. Discs are the donut-shaped, gel-filled cushions between the bony vertebrae in your spine. When they get damaged, they lose their protective shock absorbency and may cause you pain.
Dics can deteriorate over time as you age, or they may become damaged due to an impact injury. Either way, finding out exactly which disc is the source of your pain is difficult, even with X-rays and MRIs.
The reason is that a visual assessment of your discs can be deceptive. You may have a disc that’s clearly bulging or degenerated, but it really isn’t the source of your pain. On the other hand, you can have a disc that looks fine but is actually the culprit for your pain.
Discography singles out the disc that’s giving you trouble.
How does discography find the problem disc?
Discography is different from other diagnostic tests in that its main goal is to cause you pain. More precisely, its aim is to recreate a situation where your disc causes you pain. It’s called a provocative test, because it provokes your pain.
This might sound scary, but it’s the best way to identify which disc needs treatment.
The process starts with Dr. Chiu injecting a contrast dye into the discs in your lower back. Your physical response to the injection is key to understanding the source of your pain. Dr. Chiu then uses an X-ray or CT scan to get a full picture of what’s happening in your spine.
What can a discogram reveal?
Once Dr. Chiu evaluates your discography tests, he can determine how best to treat you and get rid of your back pain. In addition to identifying your pain source, the discogram lets him know exactly what’s wrong with your disc. For example, the disc may have small tears that did not show up on other diagnostic tests.
With this detailed information, Dr. Chiu can make an accurate assessment of your disc health and recommend the most effective treatment.
If you have unexplained chronic lower back pain, it may be caused by one of your discs. Don’t worry -- relief is within your reach. Call our office today or use the Book Online button to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chiu right away.