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Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies

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Electromyography and nerve conduction studies, typically referred to together as an EMG, are electrical tests of muscle and nerve that neurologists and physiatrists perform on patients for a variety of conditions. Patients are typically sent to evaluate numbness, tingling or pain in the extremities, neck or back pain or weakness.


For this part of the test, a small, thin needle electrode is put in several muscles to see if there are any problems. There may be a small amount of pain. Your doctor tests only the muscles necessary to determine what is wrong. The doctor will look and listen to the electrical signals that travel from the needle to the EMG machine. Next, your care team will analyze the results to figure out what could be causing your problem.

Nerve Conduction Studies

Nerve conduction studies 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.