Electrodiagnostic Procedures

What are electrodiagnostic procedures?

We use electrodiagnostic procedures to find nerve or muscle damage related to a wide range of medical problems.

An electrodiagnostic test consists of two main steps. It starts with several small electric shocks. They feel similar to the jolt of static electricity when touching a car door or other household item “shocks” you. Second, we insert a needle into several muscles, one muscle at a time. The shocks do not occur during this second part of the test.

There are two chief types of electrodiagnostic tests:

  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction studies (NCS)

Electrodiagnostic tests allow us to measure how much electricity your nerves are carrying, as well as gauge your muscle function. Working with your physician, we observe patterns in the test to determine where any nerve damage might be.

The side effects or complications from EMGs are minor, usually little more than muscle soreness from needle sticks. You can help reduce or eliminate pain with over-the-counter pain medication, or by applying a cold compress to the sore area.