Doctors use an electromyography (EMG) test to check a patient’s muscles and the health of the nerves that control them (the motor neurons). This diagnostic test is typically used for patients who may have damaged nerves or nerve dysfunction with regard to signal transmission to the muscles.
The EMG test can accurately measure the speed of signal transmission between the nerves and the muscles. It is frequently used by doctors when checking for Guillain-Barré syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and even polio in order to establish a firm diagnosis.
How Does an EMG Work?
An EMG measures the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves, particularly the way the nerves respond to muscle stimulation. The test detects muscle activity during rest as well as during contraction. In healthy muscle tissue, no electrical activity should occur while at rest.
The doctor will also measure the electrical activity while you contract your muscle. If needed, the physician may ask you to change positions throughout the exam.
The doctor or medical technician will inject needle electrodes into the muscle to record electrical activity in that specific area. You may feel slight discomfort, but you shouldn’t feel any pain. The nerve signals are then translated into values that can be interpreted by the physician.
Another part of the EMG study is conducted by the application of stickers to the skin. These stickers function as surface electrodes, and they measure the strength and speed of signals that travel between the nerves and muscles. You may feel spasms when the electrodes transmit tiny electric currents.
Why You May Need an EMG
An EMG is usually ordered by a doctor if they suspect that a patient has a neuromuscular disorder. Symptoms that may prompt a doctor to prescribe this test include:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle pain
- Limb pain
The EMG test is necessary not only to find out the type of neuromuscular disorder but also to rule out other diseases and conditions, such as myasthenia gravis, peripheral neuropathies, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), or a herniated disc in the spine.
EMG Testing in South Carolina
At SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation, we believe that healing begins with an accurate diagnosis. For this reason, we utilize only the most advanced diagnostic tools in our cutting-edge facility right here in the Midlands of South Carolina.
We continually work to add to our comprehensive diagnostic services to better guide us in the care and treatment of our patients. Our emphasis on preventive care and educating our patients is the special touch that sets us apart from other diagnostic and treatment centers.
If you have any questions about our medical services or would like to schedule a consultation, please call us today at (803) 749-1111 or request an appointment online now. We look forward to seeing you and being your go-to partner in the health care of your whole family