Do you suffer from muscle or nerve pain? If so, your spine or pain management physician might order an electromyography (EMG). EMG is a minimally invasive, office-based diagnostic test that evaluates how well the electrical signals between nerves and muscles are working. EMG can be particularly helpful in diagnosing radiculopathy, sciatica, or herniated disc.
At Neurosurgery One, our physiatrists are specially trained in EMG. EMG helps our physicians determine if there is damage caused by a pinched nerve in the spine. With this added information, our physicians can then determine the best course of action for your spine or back pain.
FAQs About EMG
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How does EMG work?
A diagnostic tool, EMG stimulates the muscle or nerve and then measures the electrical response.
The first step of an EMG is the nerve conduction study. Electrode stickers are applied to the outside of the body to measure electrical activity.
The second phase of an EMG is the EMG needle procedure. An electrode needle is inserted into the muscle, and then EMG monitors the muscle or nerve response during various levels of contraction and at rest.
When might I need an EMG?
Your spine or pain management physician may order an EMG if you are suffering from pain that might be originating from a pinched nerve, like radiculopathy or sciatica.
What is recovery like following an EMG?
Most patients only experience minor pain or bruising after an EMG. You should be able to resume normal activities after the procedure.
How long does an EMG take?
Both the nerve conduction study and EMG needling should take between 30-60 minutes.
What are the benefits and risks of an EMG?
The primary benefit of an EMG is being able to pinpoint the source of your muscle or nerve pain. This allows your spine or pain management physician to provide effect treatment options.
The risks of EMG are minimal with the most common side effect being soreness at the injection site. Typically an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication will alleviate the minor pain.