doctor administering an emg test

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine in Lindenhurst, our physiatrists diagnose and treat a broad range of spinal and musculoskeletal conditions, many of which involve nerve problems best diagnosed through electromyography (EMG). An EMG study can be a wonderful diagnostic tool. They help us to evaluate nerve and muscle function and to pinpoint spots where electrical signals between nerves and muscles go awry. 

If you live in Lindenhurst or the surrounding area and are suffering from a neuromuscular complaint that interferes with your daily routine and enjoyment of life, contact our Lindenhurst office to make an appointment. You can depend on our experienced professionals to treat you with the care and respect you deserve. 

Our physiatrists are doctors specifically trained to relieve pain and restore function without surgery. Contact us for a consultation so we can diagnose your problem and offer you a variety of treatment options to make you more comfortable and restore your mobility.

What is electromyography?

EMG is an efficient and precise tool used to assess the health of muscles and nerves and to identify irregularities in the transmission of electrical signals between the two. In order to understand what EMG studies measure, it is important to know that nerve cells (neurons) transmit the signals that cause muscles to contract. EMG equipment is able to pick up these signals and translate them into sounds and numerical values that can be graphed for visual evaluation by our trained professionals. 

What A EMG Study Clarifies

Our doctors have comprehensive knowledge of the code shown on the graphs they examine and are able to decipher whether a disconnect in communication between muscles and nerves is causing your problem. EMG studies compare electrical signals that are received both at rest and when your muscles contract. A nerve conduction study (NCS), administered along with the EMG, provides data about the speed and accuracy of the transmission of electrical signals.

Nerve Conduction & EMG Studies are Administered Right in Our Lindenhurst Office

During the nerve conduction study, surface electrodes are applied to your skin to measure the speed and strength of electrical signals as they travel. Then the doctor will insert a needle electrode into the targeted muscle to record its electrical activity directly. By instructing you to either contract or relax the muscle in question or to change positions, the doctor will be able to observe any abnormal electrical activity in your muscle both at rest and when it is contracted. 

Symptoms that May Warrant EMG Studies 

Just about everyone experiences occasional muscle twitches or spasms and most are of no consequence. However, if you have any of the following symptoms on a regular basis or if any of them are severe, you may be referred to our Lindenhurst office for further investigation:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness or fatigue
  • Muscle pain or cramping
  • Pain in your limbs

After performing a physical examination and taking a medical history, one of our doctors may order EMG studies to rule out or diagnose a familiar or rare disorder. Once the doctor has carefully evaluated the EMG results and has made a precise diagnosis, we will know which of our many minimally invasive methods of treatment will best lessen your pain, decrease or eliminate your symptoms, increase your strength and range of motion, and prevent your condition from worsening if you have a progressive disease.

Injuries and Disease Conditions EMG Studies Can Help To Diagnose

Even if your symptoms are relatively mild, we may find it useful to have a baseline EMG to monitor whether your condition improves or worsens in the future.

Some of the injuries and conditions that can be diagnosed or ruled out by EMG testing include:

  • Sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Herniated spinal disc or other spinal problems
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Muscular dystrophy 
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Polymyositis

It is important to remember that the likelihood of having a common condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or sciatica, is far greater than the risk of having a more serious condition. EMG studies are often used to rule out rare diseases before beginning treatment.

EMG Tests Require Little Preparation

Before administering an EMG study, in addition to personal a physical exam and taking your medical history, our doctors will ask that you avoid applying lotion or cream to your skin and wearing jewelry on the day of the exam and that you turn off any electronic devices during the procedure. They will also ask whether you have any implanted devices (e.g. pacemaker) and whether you have any questions or concerns relative to the procedure.

The EMG Study Itself

As you are no doubt aware, sensitivity to discomfort is variable. In most cases, you may feel a small twinge or spasm when the electrodes activate and you may experience discomfort when the needle electrode is inserted. These sensations pass quickly and for most people will not be any worse than receiving an injection.

An EMG study is a routine medical procedure. The risk of complication is exceedingly low, limited to the same risk of bleeding, infection, or nerve injury associated with any needle insertion. Besides this, our doctors are always extremely cautious practitioners, always conscious of their responsibility to “do no harm.”

Is there any downtime necessary after an EMG study?

Though you may feel a little sore after an EMG study or see minor bruising where the needle was inserted, an EMG study is a safe and simple process. You will be able to resume your regular activities immediately after the EMG study, unless you requested mild sedation during the procedure. If you were sedated, you should take it easy for the remainder of the day. In most cases, it will take the doctor some time to interpret the results of your exam so you will discuss it during your follow-up visit.

Contact Our Lindenhurst Office Today for Skilled Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are experiencing uncomfortable or disturbing neuromuscular symptoms, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine. Our experienced, highly skilled doctors are well-prepared to administer an EMG study in order to get to the root of your problem. Once we do, we have many nonsurgical therapeutic options which alone or in combination can restore your health and general well-being. Contact us now so we can begin to help you heal.