Electromyography (EMG) is a form of testing that is used to study nerve and muscle function. EMG tests display the extent of nerve and/or muscle injury and can also determine the exact location of injury. EMG testing is used to help diagnose conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, pinched nerve, radiculopathy, sciatica, neuropathies, muscle diseases, muscular dystrophy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and myasthenia gravis. Your physician will likely order an EMG test if you experience symptoms such as numbness, decreased sensation, tingling, “pins and needles” sensation, radiating pain, burning sensation, muscle spasms and muscle weakness.
EMG testing usually takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the condition being tested and the findings of the study. After the study is completed the results are interpreted and a report is created summarizing the findings of the test.
There are two elements of EMG testing. The first portion of the test is to assess nerve conduction. The nerves are stimulated at different points with small electric shocks, artificially activating them so their function can be measured. The second portion of the test is a needle exam for muscle testing. During this portion of the test very fine needles are inserted into several muscles. Each needle has a microscopic electrode that picks up both the normal and abnormal electrical signals given off by a muscle.
EMG testing is offered at the Manhattan Center for Headache and Neurology. Schedule a appointment today if you are experiencing any symptoms that may indicate a need for this test.
Caroline Pruski, NP