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What is EMG?

EMG (electromyography) is an electrodiagnostic technology that Ventura Neuroscience Center uses to help with the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of patients with symptoms of nerve dysfunction.

To perform an EMG, your provider at Ventura Neuroscience Center inserts very thin needles into specific areas of your muscles. The electromyography device records the electrical signals received by your muscles and produces a printout that your provider can analyze.

In most cases, your provider performs nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests at the same time as your EMG. In this test, they use electrical currents to trigger a nerve response, then measure the speed at which the nerves react.

What happens when I have an EMG?

An EMG is a straightforward test that doesn't require any anesthetic or sedative. Your skin just needs to be clean and free of any lotions or creams.

Your provider at Ventura Neuroscience Center inserts thin, sterile needles into each muscle that they're examining, which can be a little uncomfortable. The needle electrodes detect electrical activity in the muscles at rest and when they contract and send the information to an oscilloscope. This device displays the electrical signals as waves.

An EMG typically takes about an hour, depending on how many nerves and muscles need testing.

How does EMG help diagnose nerve problems?

Your nerves use electricity to send messages to and from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system or CNS) and transmit instructions from your brain that make your muscles move in a specific way.

EMG and NCV tests measure these electrical impulses to see how strong they are and how quickly the messages get through, which enables your provider to isolate any nerves that aren't functioning as they should.

Dysfunctional nerves can cause pain that's often severe, as well as unpleasant symptoms like:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Weakness
  • "Pins-and-needles" sensation
  • Loss of function

Locating nerves responsible for these problems using EMG and NCV tests enables your provider at Ventura Neuroscience Center to provide the best possible treatment for your condition.

What conditions can EMG diagnose?

EMG and NCV tests can help diagnose a variety of conditions, including:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Pinched nerves
  • Radiculopathy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Nerve complications
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease)

These conditions benefit from prompt and accurate treatment to resolve the underlying problem or delay the disease's progression.