Question: I Have Heard That A Disc Injection May Be Able To Help Diagnose My Back Pain. Is That True?
Answer: I think you're referring to a diagnostic study which is called "provocative discography." In the course of the study, the physician is placing several needles inside of several adjacent discs in the lumbar spine.
If the physician is injecting x-ray contrast inside of a normal disc, the patient usually does not experience any pain. On the other hand, if the x-ray contrast in injected inside of the disc which has cracks in the annulus, that reproduces the pain by adding additional volume inside of the disc.
So on the day of the procedure the physician usually places needles into two or three adjacent discs in the lumbar spine and that way is able to find the painful disk and distinguish that disc from the one which is not painful.