The EMG test consists of two parts. The first part is called Nerve Conduction Study. During this test, brief electrical shocks are delivered to your arm or leg to evaluate the peripheral nerve fibers’ status by recording how well small electrical impulses travel through the fiber nerves. Your nerves work like an electrical wire, similar to a wire in the wall switch that turns on a light. If you want to see if the wire is functioning properly, the easiest thing is to run electricity through it. Injury or disease to the nerve or nerve fibers can impair this electrical transmission, and you will know it by a failure of the current to go through.
Why Might I Need A Nerve Conduction Test?
The test is usually done to tell the difference between a muscle disorder and a nerve disorder. The test detects the issues with the nerves. The study can be used to check various conditions such as:
- Guillain-Barré syndrome: This condition involves the immune system attacking some parts of the peripheral nervous system. The condition includes tingling in the legs.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: This condition includes the median nerve, which connects the forearm and the hand, and when it becomes compressed or squeezed, it can cause numbness and pain in the fingers.
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: The condition affects the sensory and motor nerves and causes weakness in the lower leg muscle and the foot.
- Chronic inflammatory polyneuropathy: The condition includes tingling or numbness in nerves, which can result from diabetes.
- Herniated disk disease: The condition includes the breaking down of the fibrous cartilage that surrounds the disks of your vertebrae. The gelatinous substance protrudes from the vertebrae. The condition can cause damage to the nerve.
- Sciatic nerve problems: The common reasons for sciatic nerve problems are ruptured spinal disk and bulging that compresses the nerve’s roots. This result in tingling, pain and numbness.
- The tests are also done to find the various causes of the numbness and tingling sensations that cause pain.
What Are The Risks Of Nerve Conduction Study?
The concerns are always discussed with the patients before the conduction of this test. The voltage is very low of the electrical pulses which are used for nerve conduction study.
How Do I Get Ready For A Nerve Conduction Study?
The healthcare provider will explain the whole procedure to you and will ask certain questions as well. You will fill a consent form, and the form will ask you certain questions, which should be filled with great concentration.
- In preparation for the NCS, you should bathe or shower the night or morning before the test to clean the skin areas.
- You should not apply any lotions or oils to your skin, as these can interfere with recording the electrical impulses.
- You can take all your regular medications on the schedule before the test.
- Normal body temperature should be maintained during the test as the temperature can really affect the test results.
- We suggest that you wear loose-fitting, comfortable, and easily-removed clothing for any office visits with us, and we would suggest that the ladies not wear pantyhose.
What Happens During The Nerve Conduction Study?
You will be asked to remove any clothing, hairpins, jewelry, or any metal object that can interfere with the study.
- You will be asked to wear a gown.
- You will be asked to lie down or sit.
- To determine if there is damage to your nerves, Dr. Mir will attach a small recording electrode to the surface of one part of your limb and will touch your skin at another point with a pair of electrodes delivering the shock.
- You will feel a tingling sensation that may or may not be painful.
- As there are several nerves in each extremity that need to be tested, the procedure is repeated 3 or 4 times or more per extremity studied.
The amount of current delivered is always kept at a safe level and is not harmful. Patients wearing pacemakers or other electrical devices need not worry since this current will rarely interfere with such devices. This test is used to diagnose conditions in your extremities only. It does not repair or fix the damage done to nerves and muscles.
How Long Will The Test take?
The tests usually take 20 to 45 minutes. You can perform any of your normal activities, like eating, driving, and exercising before the tests, and you can also resume your normal activities after the tests. There are no lasting side effects.
What Happens After Nerve Conduction Study?
The paste with which the electrodes are attached to your skin is removed, and after the test, you can return to your normal daily activities. However, you can be advised by our healthcare provider to avoid strenuous activities for the rest of the day.
Who Is Eligible To Do The 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. Medical training helps the doctor decide which tests to perform based on your symptoms. It teaches doctors what can go wrong with the human body and how to tell the difference between these problems. The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine’s policy is that an appropriately trained doctor should do all needle EMG testing. Dr. Mir is trained and has years of experience in conducting these tests. A trained assistant or technologist, under a doctor’s supervision, can do nerve conduction studies.