I had ALIF & PLIF at the L4/L5 & L5/S1 level in December 2011. The discogram was a helpful tool & I didn't find it bad at all, which did surprise me. Guess it depends on who gives it. I am just now starting to feel like I am ready to return to work. (Unfortunately lost my job while on medical leave.) The reduction in pain has been tremendous! It's certainly not completely gone, but not debilitating anymore. I am concerned about finding a job where I don't have to do a lot of heavy liftiing because I am not planning on taking too many chances yet. Let me know of any specifics I might answer.