Have you ever experienced numbness and tingling in your hands and fingers or your feet and toes? Do you feel weakness in your muscles? Having episodes of that glass of water dropping out of your hands? Having too many episodes of headaches? Is that back pain shooting right to your knee or foot? This means that there is a significant problem to your nerves and muscles. Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) are highly sensitive tests which help you to get to the bottom of your pain and discomfort.
They are usually performed at the same, beginning with Nerve Conduction velocity recordings and followed by EMG, which checks your muscle activity. This helps your physician/ physical therapist assess the level of damage occurring to your nerves and muscles. These are indispensable solutions to detrimental conditions like diabetic neuropathy, myasthenia gravis, ALS etc, as well as acute conditions like nerve impingement.
WHAT IS A NCV TEST?
A nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test is used to detect nerve dysfunction causing numbness and tingling. In simple terms it calculates the speed at which the nerves carry the electrical signals. Our nerve system is a complex network of sensory and motor nerves which relay signals to the brain, to spinal cord and to muscle. While healthy nerves relay these signals quicker, weaker or injured nerves will take longer time for the same and hence a delay in response.
How does it help?
With the results of this test, your physician will be able to determine if you are suffering from damage to the nerve fiber or trauma sustained to the myelin sheath, which is a sleeve of fatty tissue that protects your nerve cells.
WHAT IS AN EMG TEST?
This test checks for individual muscle activity supplied by the nerves. The motor nerves send out electrical signals to the muscles, which in turn respond via contraction and relaxation. This provides vital information on the health of your muscles. The test translates the electrical signals into numbers or graphs, which, in turn, helps your physician diagnose your condition. You may see graphs like the ones on your ECG with or without sound. This depicts whether your muscle is functioning well or not.
EMG testing is being used for a variety of medical conditions ranging from relatively simple like carpal tunnel syndrome to more complex conditions like ALS.
DURATION OF AN NCS/ EMG TEST
A combined NCS and EMG test takes anywhere between 60 minutes to 2 hours depending on area being tested and patient’s tolerance.
Is an NCV/ EMG test painful?
There are two elements to this testing procedure:
- Nerve conduction Studies: Minute Electric shocks are given to stimulate the nerves at several different points. This helps in assessing the nerve performance by activating them
- Electromyography: Extremely thin needles are inserted into the muscles which gives of normal or abnormal signals by the muscles. The needles have microscopic tip which feels like a mild ‘prick’, less than a vaccine syringe.
- Some patients experience mild amount of discomfort, which is so negligible that they hardly require any pain medication.
At TheraMove & Diagnostics, we have Licensed Physical Therapists performing the above tests. We recommend the tests when we notice the following symptoms:
- Numbness, including diabetes numbness
- Reduced sensation
- Continuous tingling feeling
- Burning sensation or radiating pain
- Muscle spasms or weakness
- Trouble performing day-to-day activities like buttoning clothes, handling objects or walking
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Arm pain/numbness
- Leg pain/numbness
- Peripheral neuropathy
We take into considerations our clients health and responses, and assure them the best quality care to their problems. Contact us for more details on these vital diagnostic procedures.