If you have symptoms of nerve or muscle disorders, including pain, weakness, or other unusual sensations, your doctor may order an electromyogram (also called electromyography or EMG). An EMG is a minimally invasive test to evaluate the health of your muscles and the nerves that control them.
At Dignity Health Southern California, our expert neurologists offer diagnostic testing at our hospitals and imaging centers. If you need an EMG in Southern California, use our online Find a Doctor tool and make an appointment today.
What Electromyogram Evaluates
The neurology team at Dignity Health Southern California uses electromyogram tests to diagnose a number of diseases and disorders, including:
- Sciatic nerve dysfunction (sciatica)
- Myasthenia gravis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Muscular dystrophy, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Motor nerves enable your muscles to move. If you experience muscle weakness or other symptoms, the cause could be the muscles themselves or the nerves that control them. An EMG can help determine the cause of your symptoms, but it does not provide a definitive diagnosis of disease.
What to Expect During an Electromyogram at Dignity Health Southern California
On the day of the test, you should avoid using lotions, oils, or skin creams. Inform the EMG
technician if you take anticoagulants or blood thinning medications. Discuss any additional medical conditions or concerns with your doctor before your EMG.
During the electromyogram, thin needles are inserted into your muscle tissue through the skin. The needles can be uncomfortable, particularly for children. Electrodes on the needles transmit information to a monitor, which records the activity of your muscles and nerves. Your doctor may ask you to contract muscles during the test in order to see how your muscles and nerves respond to stimulation.
You may be asked to undergo a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test during your EMG. For this noninvasive test, electrodes are placed on your skin. These electrodes stimulate your nerves with electrical impulses. These impulses may feel like mild shocks.
What Happens After Electromyogram
After your EMG, you should be able to return to your normal activities immediately. Your muscles may feel slightly sore from the needle. Otherwise, you should not experience any significant symptoms.
EMG tests help doctors determine the cause of muscle weakness and other symptoms. Once you have received a diagnosis, your Dignity Health Southern California doctor can begin to plan a personalized treatment strategy that will work best for your specific condition. Dignity Health offers specialized diagnostic testing, including electromyogram, in Southern California.