Ask the Expert | EMG
Electrodiagnostic medicine is essentially muscle and nerve testing. So it’s an area of medicine where we help to figure out what part of the nerve or muscle system is causing numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness by localizing it to a specific nerve in the body, whether that’s at the wrist, like carpal tunnel, or a pinched nerve in the neck or back, or anywhere else – kind of from the neck to the fingertips or back to the toes.
There’re two different parts of an EMG or electrodiagnostic testing. First part is called nerve conduction studies. And that’s where we take a small nerve stimulator, put it over a nerve and it stimulates that nerve. And we see how fast and how big of a response that patient’s nerve sends. And then there’s a second part of the test, which is listening to the muscle, and that uses a small needle about the size of an acupuncture needle. And we put that into different muscles and listen to the muscles on the computer. So the computer turns muscles signals into sound, kind of like a radio turns radio waves into sound, and different muscles, whether they’re normal or not normal, tell us about how the nerves are doing and kind of in what pattern. And that’s how we tell what the problem is going on with that patient.