What is an EMG?
Electromyography, or EMG, is a type of diagnostic test used to detect problems involving nerves, muscles and the signals that they send to each other. If you are experiencing symptoms of a muscle or nerve disorder, your doctor may order an EMG. These symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle pain
How does an EMG work?
During EMG testing, tiny electrodes that resemble pins are placed into the muscles of the area(s) being tested. These electrodes “read” the electrical signals within your muscles that cause them to contract and release, then translate those signals into a graph.
A physiatrist can then read the resulting data and determine if there may be underlying damage to the muscle or surrounding nerves.
In some cases, up to 10 muscles may need to be tested using this method to provide an accurate diagnosis.
What is a Nerve Conduction Study?
A nerve conduction study goes hand in hand with an EMG. Nerve conduction refers to the process of sending signals from your nerves to your brain to cause movement in your body. Electrode stickers are applied to your skin to measure the speed and strength of the signals. There is a standard nerve conduction range that can be measured against the nerve conduction in your body to help diagnose potential nerve issues.
Used together, electromyography and nerve conduction studies can help diagnose a range of muscular or neurological conditions throughout the body. Testing can take 30 to 90 minutes depending on the condition being tested. While EMG/NCS are not considered painful, many patients report some discomfort during the exam and soreness following the exam.
Learn more about how Texas Orthopedics physicians use electromyography and nerve conduction studies to help diagnose nerve abnormalities associated with pain or numbness here.