What is an EMG?
An EMG, or Electromyography, is a test used to measure the electrical activity of muscles, giving insight to their functionality. Typically used as a diagnostic tool for muscle or movement disorders, EMG tests help doctors pinpoint an area of concern to better develop a treatment plan for their patient.
What to expect:
A nerve conduction study is typically done prior to receiving an EMG test. During this preliminary test, electrodes are placed on the skin to measure how well your motor neurons communicate with your muscles. The EMG is then conducted to reveal possible muscle dysfunction. The test consists of one or more small needles that are inserted into the area in question, however, because there is no medication that is being injected patients experience less discomfort than with typical needles used during a shot. The needles hold electrodes that measure the electrical activity being generated by the muscle which is then displayed on a monitor as a series of waves for your doctor to interpret.
When is an EMG needed?
An EMG is often conducted when an individual is experiencing symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle twitching. The results of an EMG can help to determine whether a person may have a nerve disorder, muscle disorder, or a disorder that is affecting the connection between the muscles and nerves.
What could your results mean?
When resting, muscle tissue should not produce an electrical signal. If this type of irregular signal is registered, this could be a sign of a muscle disorder. During the test, you will be asked to contract the muscle by moving a little bit at a time with gradually increasing intensity. As you contract the muscle, more muscle fibers are activated to produce greater electrical signals. If the test shows abnormal activity when the muscle contracts, that could be a sign of a nerve disorder.
According to your results, your doctor will develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
If you or someone you know suffers from any form of muscular or movement disorder consider making an appointment with Dr. Stickler, as this is his area of specialization!