Saturday, August 07, 2010

this took the definition of pain to a whole new level

last month, after years of back pain, i finally had another MRI and a referral to a neurosurgeon. during that visit, it was determined that i'd need some further testing to pinpoint my exact pain trigger before surgery.

so, i spent two thursdays in a row here....

the first visit was to run EMG testing on my upper extremeties and i left knowing that i have carpal tunnel in my right hand. i suppose that explains why i keep dropping things, LOL.

and then, last thursday, after a dose of valium and a tramadol injection in my hip, they performed a discogram on three discs.

the purpose of the discogram was for my neurosurgeon to discover if my pain was generating from the disc itself or from nerve involvement so he can determine which back surgerical procedure(s) he needs to perform.

a discogram is an invasive procedure which is usually only done as a last straw for patients with persistant pain that hasn't responded to other non-invasive treatment and is used as a diagnostic tool, in addition to the MRI results.

under local anesthesia, they place guide needles first, then they insert a smaller needle through the guide needle to pressurize the discs by injecting contrast dye into the disc(s) to induce pain.

here is a good video of the discogram process.

i never knew that the pain i was feeling could be magnified to that level--i was really close to blacking out. it was a paralyzing pain, literally. i couldn't move the lower half of my body for about 15 minutes.

it was after this test that i became so much more thankful that my pain isn't at that level on a daily basis. that level of pain lasted for 30 minutes, until the two vicodin i took after getting in the car to go home kicked in. then i felt like a puddle of goo for the next four days.

all three discs they injected were positive and now i wait until aug 21 to meet with the neurosurgeon again. hurry up and wait. that seems to be the story of my life.

my biggest fear of this procedure wasn't the temporary pain it would produce, but that it would magnify my daily level of pain. so thankful to report i'm just at my normal level. :)


  1. I am so sorry you had to go thru that! I cringed just seeing the diagrams ... I can't imagine going thru it. I pray that you will finally get all this pain stopped for good! Hugs and well wishes to you.

  2. I hope you get the answers you need from this test. So sorry that you had to endure all that pain.

  3. I am so sorry that you were subject to these tests. Hopefully Aug 21st will be here before you know. I hope they can now come up with a decision of what to do for you and when to do it. I admire you for all that you still manage to do daily while you are living with this never ending pain. {{{{ HUGS}}}}


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