Electrodiagnostics (EMG) & nerve conduction studies (NCS) are tests that measure muscle & nerve function. In most cases, both tests are performed. NCS is most often done first. All tests are performed by physical therapists who are Board Certified in Clinical Electrophysiology by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists. Dr. Mark E. Brooks, PT, DSc, ECS, OCS has been board certified since 2001.
During NCS, mild electrical currents are applied to the skin on some parts of your body. This is done to see how quickly impulses travel in nerves. The EMG assesses muscle function. To do this, a fine needle is placed under your skin into the muscle being tested. This is repeated on other muscles. The needle allows the electrical activity in your muscles to be measured. No electrical currents are applied with the needle. During each test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on the computer screen. These lines show how well your nerves and muscles function. These waveforms help to determine your test results.
During your test you will be asked to lie on an exam table with a blanket over you. You may have one or both of the following:
Small metal or adhesive discs (electrodes) will be placed on your skin over nerves. The electromyographer will then apply mild electrical currents to your skin. Your muscles may twitch. The test will not harm you. Currents may then be applied to the same area again. The electrodes may then be moved to another area of your body and electrical currents applied again.
Most of the electrodes will be removed for the EMG. The electromyographer will cleanse the area being tested with alcohol. A fine needle will be inserted into the muscles in this region. When the needle is inserted, you may feel as if your skin is being pinched. Try to relax & do as instructed. The needle may be moved while in your muscle. Multiple muscles may be tested.
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