Lumbar Disc Stimulation Test

What is disc stimulation?

Disc stimulation is a diagnostic test to help your doctor better determine the source of your pain. Your doctor may suspect that your pain is being caused by a disc problem, but may be unsure which disc or discs or at fault. Disc stimulation can help determine if your pain is indeed caused by a disc problem and; if so, can pinpoint which disc or discs are involved.

What will happen to me during the procedure?

An IV will be started so that relaxation medicine can be given. After lying on an X-ray table, the skin over your back will be well cleansed.  Next, the physician will numb a small area of skin with numbing medicine (anesthetic) which stings for a few seconds. The physician will use X-ray guidance to direct a needle into the center of the disc.  A small quantity of dye is then injected and the disc is observed under X-ray. You may or may not experience your pain at this time.

What should I do and expect after the procedure?

Following the procedure, you will be allowed to rest for approximately one our.  If you are feeling well, you will be discharged. You may be sent for a CT scan of the discs for further analysis. You may have some soreness at the needle site in your back and you may notice a slight increases in your pain for 2-3 days.  Ice will typically be more helpful than heat in the first 2-3 days after the injection. Occasionally, medications are written for relief of pain.

On the day of the injection, you should not drive and avoid any strenuous activities. You may return to your regular activities over the next several days as your pain is improved. If you have been referred by a spine surgeon, you will need to take a copy of your X-ray report and CT scan, if applicable, to your surgeon.