header photo

Electrodiagnostic Testing

What Are Electrodiagnostic Tests?

Electrodiagnostic medicine is the study of diseases of nerves and muscles. EMG testing is recommended to see if your muscles and nerves are working right. You can have problems in only one part of your body or throughout your body. The results of the tests will help your treating physician decide what is wrong and how it can be treated.

The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine’s policy is that an appropriately trained physician should do all needle EMG testing. Doctors who do EMGs go to 4 years of medical school then have 3 or 4 more years of training in a residency program. Most work as neurologists or physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors, also known as physiatrist. 

If you are experiencing numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, or muscle cramping, these test will determine the cause of your symptoms. Some of the tests that Dr. Mora may use to diagnose your symptoms are nerve conduction velocity (NCVs), needle EMG, and evoked potentials.  Dr. Mora will first examine you to decide which tests to do.

Nerve Conduction Studies or Nerve Conduction Velocity

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.

Needle EMG (Electromyography)

For this part of the test, a small, thin disposable needle is put in 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. Dr. Mora will test 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. The doctor will be able to figure out what could be causing your problem base on the test results.

The tests usually take 20 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.

Prior to these tests please inform Dr. Mora if you are taking aspirin, blood thinners (like Coumadin®), have a pacemaker, or have hemophilia. You need to take a bath or shower to remove oil from your skin prior to the testing. Do not use body lotion on the day of the test. If you have myasthenia gravis, ask Dr. Mora if you should take any medications before the test.

Upon completion of your testing Dr. Mora will discuss your test results with you or send them to your regular Physician. After the exam, check with the doctor who sent you to see Dr. Mora for the next step in your care.