Lumbar Discography

People who complain of disabling low back pain may have had an MRI scan which has shown small disc bulges, degenerative changes (wear and tear) or tears in the intervertebral disc, although these findings may not necessarily be the cause of their pain. Lumbar discography is an investigation that can determine whether or not the intervertebral disc is actually responsible.

The intervertebral disc is the structure that is between vertebrae (bones of the spine). It acts as both a spacer and a shock absorber. The disc is composed of two parts: a soft gel-like centre (the nucleus pulposus) surrounded by a tougher fibrous wall (the annulus fibrosis).

Sometimes the intervertebral discs can lose their flexibility,elasticity and shock-absorbing characteristics, while the tough layer of ligaments that surrounds the disc may weaken and no longer be able to contain the gel-like substance in the centre. This can cause inflammation to the surrounding area and some of these discs can be a source of continuing back pain and pain in the legs.

If the symptoms are severe and chronic and have not responded to physiotherapy, the disc can be tested to diagnose whether it is the source of the pain the patient is experiencing (discography).

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital


    Ashford and St Peter’s
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Guildford Road, Cherstey,
    Surrey, KY16 0PZ.
    Ph: 01932 722 730
  • The BMI Runnymede Hospital


    The BMI
    Runnymede Hospital
    Guildford Road,
    Ottershaw, CHERTSEY,
    KT16 0RQ.
    Ph: 01932 877800
  • Spire St Anthony’s Hospital


    Spire St Anthony’s
    801 London Road,
    SM3 9DW.
    Ph: 020 8337 6691
  • Nuffield Health Woking Hospital


    Nuffield Health
    Woking Hospital
    Shores Road,
    GU21 4BY.
    Ph: 01483 331257
  • Ramsay Health Ashtead Hospital


    Ramsay Health
    Ashtead Hospital
    The Warren,
    Ashtead, Surrey.
    KT21 2SB.
    Ph: 01372 221400