Discography is a test performed to determine which disc, or discs, if any, are related to your pain. Many people have discs that look abnormal on an MRI, but are not related to their pain. Discography can be performed in the lumbar spine (low back), cervical spine (neck) and less often in the thoracic spine (mid-back).
The test has two parts that give your doctor helpful information. The test involves injecting dye that can be seen on x-rays into the center of the discs. This is the imaging part of the test. In a normal disc, without degenerative changes or tears, the dye stays in the center of the disc. If the disc has torn fibers, the dye spreads into the damaged areas. If the disc is severely degenerated, the dye spreads throughout.
The other part of the evaluation is pain assessment. Information about the location and intensity of pain experienced during the injection will help your doctor to determine which disc(s), if any, are related to the pain for which you are seeking treatment.