The relationship of pain provocation to lumbar disc deterioration as seen by CT/discography

H Vanharanta, B L Sachs, M A Spivey, R D Guyer, S H Hochschuler, R F Rashbaum, R G Johnson, D Ohnmeiss, V Mooney
Spine 1987, 12 (3): 295-8
The CT/discographic findings from 225 discs in 91 low-back pain patients were compared to the pain provocation during the injection of contrast into the disc. The radiographic appearance of disc deterioration demonstrating disc degeneration and annular disruption of each disc was classified separately using a fourpoint scale: normal, slight, moderate, or severe. Pain reaction to the discogram at each level was recorded as follows: no pain, dissimilar pain, similar pain, or exact reproduction of the patient's clinical pain. This more precise analysis demonstrated a significant relationship between pain and deterioration of discs. The CT/discogram presents an axial view of the disc that allows a subgrouping of disc deterioration that can discriminate between peripheral deterioration (degeneration) and internal deterioration (disruption). The disruption supposedly occurs earlier and is more likely to be the source of exact pain reproduction.

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