Find your care

At the UCLA Health Spine Center, our experts diagnose, manage and treat all spinal injuries and conditions. Call 310-319-3475 to connect with a spine specialist.

MRI and CT Scans Can Reveal Disc Anatomy

MRI and CT scans can reveal disc anatomy but do not determine which discs cause pain.

Fluoroscopic techniques called discography allow the specialist to place fine needles into the center of discs suspected of generating pain. These discs can then be injected with x-ray contrast to visualize disc anatomy in real time and to determine pain response to pressure, a process known as discography. A normal disc does not cause pain when pressure is applied, whereas a pain-generating disc will reproduce the patient's typical pain with pressure.

Discography illustration