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Question: Have had a series of 3 spinal injections with discograms, discography, fluroscopy. MD wants to do so again. No point it didn't help the pain lower lumbar L-3, L-4, L-5 which runs down the back of right leg - sciatic nerve. What other alternatives can I suggest to the orthopedist - have begun phys. therapy which seems to help. Thank You so much for your help. Sincerely, Lisa Tiffany

Answer: Dear Lisa Tiffany,

A discography cannot treat a condition since it is just a diagnostic test that allows doctors to plan for a type of therapy versus another, depending on the problem discovered.

Discographies are usually done to find out if back pain is caused by a degenerated disc and which ones.

For people with degenerative disc disease the treatments that are available include:

  • Pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs (Advil), oral steroids, narcotic drugs and muscle relaxants.
  • Chiropractic manipulation performed by a chiropractor that takes pressure off sensitive areas, restores blood flow, increases range of motion and reduces muscle tension.
  • Epidural injections that deliver steroids which decrease inflammation in the affected area.
  • TENS units that deliver mild electrical stimulation that overrides the painful signsl sent to the lower back.
  • Ultrasounds may be used to warm affected area and restore blood flow.
  • Massage therapy can also improve blood flow, reduce muscle stiffness and increase range of motion and endorphin levels.

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