EMG (Nerve and Muscle Test)

An electromyography (EMG) is a test that provides information about the health and function of the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs. The EMG is a valuable tool to diagnose the location and type of nerve or muscle disease, in order to establish an appropriate treatment.

What you should know

 Before your visit

Do not use lotions or creams on your arms or legs on the day of the test. Keep hands and feet warm for the test (wear gloves in the winter). Please wear comfortable clothing that will give easy access to your arms and legs. In some cases we may ask you to change into a hospital gown.

 During your visit

This test will last approximately 45 minutes. However, some tests are shorter and in other cases.

 Care providers

An EMG test is performed by a specially-trained Neurologist and an EMG technologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is an EMG ordered?

Your physician would order this test for patients who have: carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neurolpathy, pinched nerve roots or muscle disease.

Does an EMG hurt?

The nerves are stimulated with mild electrical impulses that give an unusual and surprising sensation (much like the sensation in the fingers experienced when you hit your elbow on a desk).

Are there needles involved?

Nerve conduction studies are performed by placing discs on the skin. There are no needles for this test. Muscle testing involves inserting small needles into various muscles. A pinprick sensation is experienced. Muscle testing is only necessary in certain EMG testing cases.

Does the neurologist provide a consultation?

The neurologist will provide a full consultation if requested by your physician. If this is not requested, the neurologist will only perform the EMG.

When do I get my results?

The neurologist will provide you with your results at the end of the test. A full dictated report will be sent to your physician.