EMG and the Nerve Conduction Study are tests used to detect nerve and muscle problems. An EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles, and the Nerve Conduction Study measures the speed and intensity of electrical signals that travel along nerves.

These two tests provide useful information about the health of your muscles and nerves.  They can help detect the cause of problems such as weakness, numbness, spasms, or pain. EMG and Nerve Conduction Studies are able to determine if the problem involves the spinal nerve roots, peripheral nerves and muscles. Both tests combined take approximately 60 minutes.

How does the testing work?

During a Nerve Conduction Study, you will lie in a comfortable and relaxed position (depending on what area of your body is being tested). Certain areas of your skin will be cleaned and a gel will be applied. Three small, flat electrodes will be taped to your skin. Stimulating electrodes are held against your skin, and you will feel a shocking sensation each time the nerve is stimulated.

During an EMG, you will lie in a comfortable and relaxed position. Certain areas of your skin may be cleaned. A small, thin needle electrode is gently inserted into the muscle, and you may feel a dull ache or pressure. Other electrodes are attached to your skin.

EMG Test Preparation

  • You may bathe or shower on the day of your test. Please do not use bath oils, lotions or creams.
  • Eat meals according to your usual schedule.
  • Tell the physician or technician about medications you are taking (especially Coumadin). Tell him or her if you bruise easily, have hemophilia, diabetes, a pacemaker, or a skin infection.
  • If you are taking Coumadin, you MUST have blood work (INR levels and protime) drawn 2-3 days prior to testing. Please bring in your lab work results with you.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Please do not wear bracelets or watches.
  • Allow plenty of time to avoid feeling rushed (arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment in order to fill out information and answer questions).
  • Please complete any forms you have received from Neurological Associates and bring them in with you.