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Electromyography

At Salt Lake Spine & Sports Medicine, we work to give our patients the absolute best solutions for their health concerns. Effective treatment is preceded by an effective diagnosis, which is why we offer electromyography, or EMG, as one of our available services.

What is EMG?

Electromyography is actually a two part study we use to study the nerves and muscles to diagnose the possible sources of pain and other symptoms. We use this study to stimulate and measure electrical impulses in the patient's body to detect any nerve dysfunction. We also check for active nerve damage within the muscles. When combined with information from a patient's history and a physical exam, EMG tests help us to diagnose and evaluate disorders including:
  • Herniated disk pinching a nerve
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Nerve entrapments
  • Peripheral neuropathy

Who needs an EMG test?

Your primary physician or another health care professional can recommend an EMG test if you experience symptoms common to nerve or muscle disorders such as muscle or joint pain, back pain, tingling or numbness in the extremities, weakness, or cramping. An EMG test will allow us to determine if your nerves and muscles are functioning properly and isolate and diagnose the possible source of your symptoms.

What to expect from an EMG test?

This test actually involves two distinctive parts: a nerve conduction study (NCS) and the electromyography (EMG) itself. These are the basic steps of an NCS/EMG test:

Nerve Conduction Study (NCS):

1. Electrode recording pads are placed at different locations of the symptomatic limb.
2. Small shocks (2 volts compared to 110 volts in the light socket) are given and the electrodes record the amplitude and speed of the nerve conduction.

Electromyography (EMG):

1. This test is administered by inserting a very small needle into muscles of the symptomatic limb. We test different muscles that connect to nerves from different levels of the spine.
2. The needle is attached to a wire that gives a signal to a machine, serving as a sort of antenna for your nerves and muscles.
3. We will ask you to bend or flex specific muscles to see if the muscle is responding as it should.

After the tests are finished, we will analyze the results and come up with a detailed report.

What else do I need to know about EMG?

Because electromyography is such a low-risk procedure, there isn't too much you need to do to prepare for it. A few things to keep in mind include:
  • Let us know if you use a pacemaker or electrical medical device, aspirin, blood-thinning medications, or have hemophilia or myasthenia gravis.
  • An EMG test doesn't affect your everyday activities such as eating, driving, and exercising. So as soon as we're done you can continue with your day like you normally would.
  • Take a bath or shower before your appointment to remove the oil from your skin.
  • Avoid using body lotion on the day of the test.
If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms potentially linked to nerve or muscle conditions, contact Salt Lake Spine & Sports Medicine to schedule your consultation today so we can diagnose the cause of your pain and help you get healthy again.

To learn more about what to expect during your electrodiagnostic exam, go to:

 
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