An electromyogram (also called electromyography, or EMG) is a test that evaluates the health of your muscles and the nerves that control them.
Technicians at Dignity Health Central California perform a range of tests to diagnose or monitor a number of health conditions related to muscle and nerve function, particularly if you’re experiencing muscle weakness.
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Why You Might Need an EMG Test at Dignity Health Central California
Your muscles are controlled by special nerves that help them move. Muscle weakness may be due to a problem with either your muscles or the motor nerves. The electromyogram helps distinguish between these two possible causes for muscle weakness.
An EMG cannot tell your doctor that you definitely have a disease. Instead, it’s a tool that helps your doctor eventually make a diagnosis.
Your doctor may order an electromyogram if you have signs or symptoms of any number of different neurological conditions, including: :
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and all other types of MD
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Myasthenia gravis
- Sciatic nerve dysfunction (sciatica)
What Happens During an Electromyogram
An electromyogram is a mildly invasive test where thin needles are inserted through your skin and into your muscles. An electrode on the needle sends signals to a monitor, which records your muscle and nerve activity. During the EMG test, you may be asked to contract (squeeze) whatever muscle is being tested. This allows your doctor to see how your muscles and nerves respond to stimulation.
Avoid using any skin creams or lotions on the day of the test. If you take blood-thinning medications, make sure to tell your technician before the test begins.
Is an EMG Test Painful?
An EMG can be uncomfortable, particularly for children. After electromyography, your muscles might feel sore from the needle. Otherwise, you should not experience any significant symptoms and should be able to return to your normal activities.
When you get an EMG test, your doctor may ask that you get a noninvasive nerve conduction velocity test at the same time. Electrodes will be placed on your skin to deliver an electrical impulse to your muscles. This impulse may feel like a mild shock.
Electromyogram & Diagnosis
The EMG test is very useful. Doctors at Dignity Health Central California use your EMG test results to help explain what’s causing muscle weakness. Once you have received a diagnosis, you are that much closer to getting the appropriate, personalized treatment that maintains or improves your quality of life and possibly even cures your condition. Technicians at Dignity Health Central California perform electromyography (EMG) to diagnose muscle weakness in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.