At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, electromyography (EMG) study is highly valued as a diagnostic method. Focused as we are on reducing or eliminating pain and restoring function, electromyography studies give us essential information about the part nerves play in our patients’ symptoms. Our doctors, well aware that accurate diagnosis is the first step towards successful treatment, depend on EMG studies to help us reach our rehabilitative goals.

What Electromyography Studies Tell Us About Your Neuromuscular Health

EMG studies help us to understand any irregularities in the transmission of electrical signals between your nerves and muscles by translating them into sounds, graphs, and numerical values. Because we have the extensive training necessary to decode and interpret this data, EMG studies show us precisely how your nerve transmission irregularities are leading to your problems with mobility and specific functions involving strength, sensation and flexibility. 

If you are troubled by neuromuscular problems in your back, neck or limbs, contact one of our five convenient Long Island offices for a thorough assessment. Once we isolate the cause of your pain and dysfunction, our highly skilled physiatrists will be able to offer you several nonsurgical treatment options.

What is it like to have an EMG study?

Undergoing an electromyography study is a benign process with two basic parts: nerve conduction and a needle EMG. During the first, the doctor will apply surface electrodes to your skin to measure the speed and strength of transmitted electrical signals. During the second, small needle electrodes will be inserted into the targeted muscle to record electrical activity. 

Because the doctor is seeking any evidence of abnormal electrical activity both when your muscle is at rest and when your muscle is contracted, you will be asked to contract or release the muscle(s) being tested during the exam. You will also, at times, be asked to change positions.

Neither part of the electromyography study is of long duration nor is especially uncomfortable. Patients report a low-grade electrical buzzing sensation with the first and a pricking sensation with the second. While individual patients have varying levels of sensitivity, patient reactions to EMG studies are mostly mild.

Symptoms that Warrant EKG Studies

As with other symptoms, while momentary sensations are likely to be dismissed as inconsequential, repeated experiences with the following symptoms are reason for further investigation:

  • Tingling (pins and needles)
  • Muscle pain, spasms or cramping
  • Muscle weakness or fatigue
  • Pain in your limbs
  • Numbness

Although these symptoms may not be constant, the fact that they recur is significant. After taking a full medical history and performing a physical examination, our doctors may order an electromyography study to have all necessary data before making a definitive diagnosis. Such a diagnosis will help us discover or rule out specific disorders so we will know how to proceed.

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we have a broad range of treatment options, some of which may be used in combination. All of our treatments are designed to:

  • Lessen your neuromuscular symptoms
  • Decrease your pain
  • Increase your mobility
  • Expand your range of motion
  • Prevent your condition from worsening 

Early Diagnosis Is Often the Key to Successful Treatment

As with most conditions, neuromuscular ones are best treated if reported to your doctor promptly so they can be diagnosed and treated before they progress. Having an EMG study early on also provides a baseline profile for purposes of comparison if your symptoms worsen in the future.

Conditions an EMG Study Can Identify

The common and serious maladies below may be pinpointed or ruled out based on EMG studies:

  • Bell’s palsy
  • Sciatica
  • Peripheral neuropathy 
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome or other pinched nerves
  • Herniated spinal disc or other back problems
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myasthenia gravis

It is important to remember that your neuromuscular symptoms are more likely to be due to a common complaint than to a serious or life-threatening rare disease. Nonetheless, our experienced specialists are committed to finding out the truth, whatever it is, and treating you accordingly. We are holistic in our approach to healthcare, so we will always focus on you as a whole person, not as a conglomeration of symptoms. 

Risks of EMG Studies Are Extremely Low

Although any procedure in which a needle is inserted can potentially result in bleeding, infection or nerve injury, complications of electromyography studies are extremely rare. Our practitioners are exceedingly careful and have a great deal of experience administering these tests, so when you come to one of our offices, you are in a very safe environment. 

It is important, however, that you inform us if you have a cardiac defibrillator or pacemaker or if you take certain medications, such as muscle relaxants or blood-thinning drugs, that can interfere with EMG results. Don’t worry that you will forget to mention these matters, we will be certain to ask. 

Preparations for Electromyography Studies

At Long Island Spine, we make it a rule to always discuss upcoming procedures like EMGs with our patients. In addition to asking you pertinent questions and answering any of your concerns, we will instruct you:

  • Not to apply any lotions or creams to your skin on the day of your exam
  • Not to wear any jewelry during the procedure
  • To turn off any electronic devices (e.g. cell phones) during the test

It is important to follow these directions so as not to interfere with the EMG results. Electromyography studies are outpatient procedures and most patients can go about their daily routine as soon as they leave our office. 

The only exception is if a patient has requested mild sedation before the procedure. If this is true in your case, you will require some downtime before going about your business. As with most medical tests, our doctors take time to analyze the results of your EMG study before providing you with the results at your follow-up visit. 

Contact Our Experienced Electromyography Professionals Today

If you are suffering neuromuscular symptoms in your back, neck, limbs, or digits, consulting with our EMG specialists may change your life. You will be pleased to know that we have an outstanding record of success in making our patients more comfortable, assisting them in resuming their normal activities, and providing them with a renewed ability to enjoy their lives.