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Quality Electromyogram (EMG)


An electromyogram (electromyography or EMG) evaluates the health of your muscles and the nerves that control them. Your doctor at Dignity Health may recommend an EMG if you have symptoms that could be caused by a muscle or nerve disorder.

Our expert neurologists can help you get to the root cause of your symptoms through our diagnostic testing. Find a Doctor to learn more about EMG in the Bay Area.

Do I Need an EMG?

Muscle weakness can be caused by problems with either the muscles themselves or the nerves that control them. An electromyogram helps distinguish between the two causes.

EMG helps our specialists diagnose a number of neurological conditions, including:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy (MD) and other types of MD
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Sciatic nerve dysfunction (sciatica)

What to Expect During an EMG Test 

Your Dignity Health doctor will give you special instructions on how to prepare for your EMG. You should avoid using any skin creams or lotions on the day of the test. If you take blood thinning medications, inform the technician before the test.

An EMG may be performed in a Dignity Health hospital or doctor’s office. This minimally invasive test involves inserting thin needles through the skin into the muscle tissue. This can be uncomfortable, especially for children. An electrode on the needle sends signals to a monitor, which records the activity of your muscles and nerves. You may be asked to contract (squeeze) the muscle being tested, so your doctor can see how your muscles and nerves respond to stimulation.

In some cases, a nerve conduction velocity test will be performed at the same time as an EMG exam. In this noninvasive test, electrodes are placed on the skin and deliver an electrical impulse to your muscles.

Recovering from an EMG

After electromyography, you should be able to return to your normal activities. Your muscles might feel sore from the needle. Otherwise, you should not experience any significant symptoms.

The EMG test helps our doctors determine what is causing your muscle weakness. A diagnosis will help guide your personalized treatment plan at Dignity Health. 

Dignity Health’s neurologists diagnose a wide array of muscle and nerve disorders using state-of-the-art diagnostic tests, including EMG.