Should I have an EMG test?
In order to provide the best possible care to you, your doctor needs to determine the cause of your symptoms. The following symptoms warrant this diagnostic procedure:
- numbness, tingling, feeling of “pins and needles”
- sharp or shooting pain or radiating pain
- acute or chronic neck or back pain
- aching pain
- continuous pain
- muscle spasms
- loss of sensation
- loss of muscle control
- burning pain
- hot/cold sensation
- weakness or atrophy
- gait or balance issues
- difficulty with fine motor movements
Symptoms that you experience are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. There are numerous reasons that you may be experiencing these symptoms. An EMG study is an important test and will help your doctor to establish a proper diagnosis and will assist in establishing a treatment plan tailored to specifically target the cause of your symptoms.
What will the test feel like?
The procedure is mildly uncomfortable; a small electric shock is applied to the nerves that are being tested. This sensation is very similar to the shock of static electricity, which we often experience on a hot dry day when we touch another person.
Can you walk me through what the test will be like?
There are two parts to the test. In the first part, the technician will place sticky pads along specific sites of your arms or legs. A stimulator probe will be placed on top of your skin and mild electrical impulses will be sent up the nerve pathway. This electric impulse excites the nerve; and an impulse then travels down the nerve to its muscle which it contracts. The technician will record the electrical activity of your nerves.
The second part of the test will be performed by a neurologist. This portion of the test is similar to the other portion; however a small needle is used by the neurologist. This part of the test provides important information about the muscles and how the muscle is communicating with your nerves. It will also help differentiate between a muscle disorder and a nerve disorder.
There is no risk or damage done to the nerves or body by this investigation. The human body actually produces its own natural electrical currents to deliver messages from the brain to the other parts of the body. These naturally occurring electric currents in your nerves can be affected by injury, inflammation, disease, and or other conditions. You can continue your medications as usual, and you will be able to resume normal activities directly after testing.
About your EMG Study
Preparing for your EMG study…
- Before your scheduled test date, please inform the staff if you are taking any blood thinners, such as Coumadin, or if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator
- The study will take 30 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on the specific studies that will be done
- Please do not apply lotions or oils to your skin on your test date
- Wear loose fitting, dark colored clothing
On your test date…
- Please check in with the office staff to let them know you are there for your EMG study
- Our highly trained neurodiagnostic technician and board certified physician will be performing the study
- The test is mildly uncomfortable. A small electric shock is applied to the nerves that are being tested
- Once your study is completed, you can resume any of your normal activities
After your test…
- The neurologist will write a formal report
- Your doctor will receive the report within 3-4 days from your test date
- Please schedule a follow up appointment with your doctor to review the results