The second part of the nerve test is a needle examination, and as the name implies, it involves a small, painless needle. There are no electrical shocks during the needle exam and the needles used are thin, fine, and about one and a quarter inches long. The needle probe is only used as a recording device and is not used for injection purposes. Electromyography (EMG) records the electrical activity in the muscle cells directly. This test can help determine the cause or extent of muscle weakness, spasm, pain, inflammation, or paralysis in the limbs, spinal area, or even the face. Usually, 5 to 6 muscles are sampled in one extremity.
Why Might I Need An EMG test?
You’re attending an electromyography (EMG) test because you’re suffering from:
- Muscle cramping
About the procedure (EMG)
Before the procedure:
First of all, your doctor will explain the whole procedure to you, and some guidelines will be given to you before the test.
- This test doesn’t require any fasting, and certain caffeinated beverages and cigarettes can be restricted two hours before the testing.
- Your doctor will ask you about any medication that you are on.
- If you have a pacemaker, do notify your doctor about it.
- Don’t apply any lotion or oils n your skin before the test.
- Your doctor may request other specific preparations before the test.
- It’s also best to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing (and advise against ladies wearing pantyhose).
During the procedure:
Usually, the EMG testing follows this process:
- You will be asked to remove any clothing or a metal object that can interfere with the testing. You will be asked to wear a gown.
- The muscle that is to be studied will be located by your neurologist.
- Sterile needle will be inserted into the muscle, and between your arms or legs, a ground electrode will be positioned.
- There are around five or six needle insertions. The process, however, is usually painless.
- You will be asked to perform certain full-strength muscle contractions.
- The activity which is going on in your muscle will then be measured and displayed on an oscilloscope.
- When this is done, you will be able to hear the sound of your muscle’s activity amplified by the EMG machine; it will sound something like radio static.
After the procedure:
The muscle soreness can persist for a day or two following the test. If there is an increase in pain, swelling, or tenderness, then do modify your doctor. Your physicians will give you additional instruction after the testing that depends upon your situation. Following the exam, a copy of the results will be sent to your referring doctor’s office for their records. You’ll then need to check with the doctor who sent you about the next stage in your care plan.
How Long Will The Test Take?
The tests usually take between 20 and 45 minutes. You can do everything as usual before the exam – such as driving, exercising, and eating – and equally can carry on with your normal activities after the tests, which have no side effects.
Who Is Eligible To Do The Testing?
Professionals such as Dr. Mir, who do EMGs – attend medical school for four years, then have three or four extra years of residency training. Per the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine policies, all needle EMG testing has to be carried out by a professionally trained doctor. A trained technologist or assistant can carry out nerve conduction studies under a qualified doctor’s supervision. Expert medical training helps your doctor decide which tests to perform based on your precise symptoms.