According to some research, 95% of Americans have some type of health problem. One of the most common issues is nerve or muscle issues.
If you’re experiencing those issues, it’s likely that your doctor will ask you to get an EMG.
But what is it, and what should you expect from your EMG? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about this process.
What Is EMG?
Electromyography (EMG) is a procedure that will elevate the health condition of muscles, but it also looks at the nerves that help control the muscles. The nerves that control the muscles are known as motor neurons.
When you get an EMG, they can translate these signals into numbers and graphs to help a doctor make a diagnosis. A doctor will order an EMG if you’re showing symptoms related to a nerve or muscle disorder.
The EMG results will help the doctor understand what nerves or muscles aren’t working properly and then diagnose nerve or muscle disorders.
The results can help doctors and patients determine where the disease is located and how much it’s spread.
What Is It For?
Your doctor will order an EMG if you have any symptoms or signs that you have a muscle or nerve disorder. Some of these symptoms are things like:
- Limb pain
- Muscle pain
- Muscle weakness
If you experience these symptoms, your doctor will likely order an EMG. These are necessary to help rule out and diagnose certain conditions. For example, it could diagnose disorders that affect your muscles, like dystrophy.
It could also be a procedure that can diagnose diseases that affect the connectivity between the muscle and the nerve. Disorders of the nerves, like carpal tunnel syndrome, could also be diagnosed with an EMG.
If you have a herniated disk in your spinal cord, then you may also get an EMG.
How Does It Work?
An EMG can normally be performed as an outpatient procedure or as part of an existing hospital stay. The procedure is generally the same, but it can be different depending on the doctor’s practice and your condition.
A neurologist or a technician will normally perform this procedure. They’ll normally do it after a nerve conduction study, which measures the flow of the currents from the nerves.
When you are scheduled for an EMG, the person performing it will ask you to remove anything that you might be wearing. This includes clothes, hairpins, glasses, hearing aids, or any jewelry or metal objects. These could interfere with the procedure.
If you’re asked to remove clothing, then you’ll likely be asked to wear a gown. Then, you’ll have to sit or lie down during the procedure.
The neurologist or technician will find the muscles that they want to study. They’ll clean the skin with an antiseptic wash to ensure that it’s safe.
Once it’s clean, they’ll take a sterile needle and put it in your muscle. They’ll also put an electrode underneath your leg or arm.
They may need to insert more needles depending on what muscle area they’re examining. You might experience a little bit of a pinch, but normally this process is painless. If it is painful, you should tell the technician because this could affect the results.
It’s best to relax as little as possible. You might be asked to perform some strong muscle contractions so that you can create a nerve connection and electrical activity that the EMG can measure.
How to Prepare for an EMG
If you’re asked to take an EMG, you’ll need to prepare for it. In general, the preparation is very easy, but you should always consult with your doctor.
You need to avoid taking any over-the-counter medications or prescriptions before the exam. If you aren’t sure that you can stop taking the prescriptions, ask your doctor if they can make an exception.
You’ll also want to take a shower or a bath right before your exam. This will help you remove any of the oils from your skin so that it doesn’t interfere with the results. You also should avoid applying any creams or lotions.
You may also want to tell your neurologist if you have a blood-clotting disorder, have a pacemaker, or are taking any medications that thin your blood.
What Are the Risks?
Thankfully, getting an EMG doesn’t have many risks, and there are rarely any complications from this procedure. However, there is a small risk of infection and bleeding from where the needle is inserted, but again, this is rare.
Your doctor should warn you of any risks and complications because these can be different depending on your case.
What Do Your Results Mean?
Once you finish the EMG, your doctor will go over the results with you. They may tell you right there or have a doctor follow up with you later.
Your EMG will show electrical activity in the resting muscle, and it could show if you have a disorder or inflammation. It’ll show abnormal electrical activity when your muscle contracts or your nerves aren’t connecting properly.
Depending on your results, the doctor will go over any additional treatments.
Discover More About EMG
These are only a few things to know about an EMG but talk with your doctor to discover what the process will be like for you.
We know that it can be scary to go through this process, but we’re here to make the process comfortable for you.
If you’re looking for an EMG in Las Vegas, check out our website to have a comfortable EMG process.