FRONT RANGE CENTER FOR SPINE AND SPORTS MEDICINE
Boulder Office Address: 5277 Manhattan Circle #100 Boulder, Colorado 80303
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WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR EMG TEST
WHO DOES THE TESTING?
The American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine’s policy is that an appropriately trained doctor should do all of the EMG (Electromyography), and NCS (Nerve Conduction) testing.
WHAT KIND OF MEDICAL TRAINING DO DOCTORS WHO DO EMG’S HAVE?
Doctors who do EMG’s go to 4 years of medical school; then have 4 more years of training in a residency program. Most work as neurologists or physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors. Medical training helps the doctor decide which tests to perform based on your symptoms.
ELECTRODIAGNOSTIC MEDICINE studies diseases of the nerves and muscles. The EMG test your doctor has recommended studies if your muscles and nerves are working right. You can have problems with your muscles and nerves in only one part of your body or throughout your body. The EMG doctor examines you to decide what tests to do. The results of the test will help your doctor decide what is wrong and how it can be treated.
WHY AM I BEING SENT TO THE EMG LAB FOR TESTS?
You are being sent to the EMG lab because you have numbness, tingling, weakness and/or muscle cramping. Some of the tests that the EMG doctor may use to diagnose your symptoms are nerve conduction studies (NCSs), and needle EMG.
NERVE CONDUCTION STUDIES
NCSs show how well the body’s electrical signals are traveling to a nerve. This is done by applying small electrical shocks to the nerve and recording how the nerve works. These shocks cause a quick, mild, tingling feeling. The doctor may test several nerves.
For this part of the exam, a small thin needle is inserted into several muscles to see if there are any problems. A new needle is used for each patient, and it is thrown away after the test. There may be a small amount of pain when the needle is put in. The doctor examines only the muscles necessary to decide what is wrong. The doctor will look at and listen to the electrical signals that travel from the needle to the EMG machine.
HOW LONG WILL THESE TESTS TAKE?
The tests usually take 30 to 90 minutes. You can do any of your normal activities, like eating, driving, and exercising, before the tests. There are no lasting side effects. You can also do your normal activities after the tests.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE TESTS?
Tell the EMG doctor if you are taking Aspirin, blood thinners, have a pacemaker, implantable defibrillator, electrical stimulator, or insulin pump.
WHEN WILL I KNOW THE TEST RESULTS?
The EMG doctor will discuss your test results with you, and send them to your referring doctor. After the exam, check with the doctor who sent you to the lab for the next step in your care.