EMG Testing

Would an EMG / Nerve Conduction Test help your pain condition?

The first step to addressing pain is to identify its source, area and behavior. Anyone with complaints of weakness, numbness, burning or tingling is a good candidate for an EMG/Nerve Conduction.


This test helps to identify the location and severity of conditions that cause pain, numbness or weakness and help your healthcare provider to determine ways to provide pain relief. In the case or your medical doctor, such conservative treatments can include medication, pain injections or physical therapy.


Your doctor has ordered an EMG and NCS Test. Here is some information on what to expect.

An EMG / Nerve Conduction Test measures the electrical signals in both the nerve and muscles of the body to help your physician identify the source of your complaint. These tests are performed by Board Certified Physical Therapists, specially trained neurologists and specially trained physiatrists.


EMG/NCS testing can assist in:

    1. Narrowing the etiology of an injury

    2. Localizing a site of injury

    3. Estimating the extent of an injury

    4. Detecting injury progression or regression

    5. Establishing an injury baseline

    6. Ruling out other causes or factors than could be involved in a disease process


Nerve Conduction and Electromyography testing for:

• Work related nerve injuries
• Traumatic injuries caused by auto accidents
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Ulnar Neuropathy at the Elbow
• Cervical Radiculopathy
• Lumbar Radiculopathy
• Diabetic polyneuropathy
• Toxic, Idiopathic and Other Polyneuropathies
• Motor neuron diseases
• Myopathy


The test consists of two parts:

    What: Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) are used to indicate how well your nerves and muscles are working. Nerve conduction studies measure both the speed and the size of the electrical signals that are being transmitted by specific nerves in your body. The EMG test procedure measures the electrical activity within the muscles that those specific nerves supply signals to.
    Why: These tests can determine whether ongoing nerve injury or muscle damage is contributing to your current symptoms. They provide objective documentation for many suspected diagnoses such as carpal tunnel syndrome and also help to rule out superimposed conditions that can contribute to your primary complaints.
    How: In a nerve conduction study, small surface electrodes are placed upon your skin and specific nerves in your arm, leg, back or neck are stimulated using a tiny handheld stimulator. The handheld stimulator sends a small electrical impulse to specific nerves that are chosen based on the nature of your complaints. The nerve impulses are then recorded and stored for analysis.
    Who: At Physical Therapy Pros, all EMG/NCS studies are performed or supervised by board certified specialists who have received specialist training, education and certification in this area of diagnostic testing. Our EMG specialists are among the best in the United States and are among the select few (less than 200) that are Board Certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) as in specialists in Clinical Electrophysiology.
    When: Your doctor will receive the test results in a formal report that meets best EMG practice standards. Results are available with 24-48 hours.
    Preparation: There is no special preparation needed, except that you should not apply any lotions or oils to your skin on the day of your test. If you have a pacemaker or have had a mastectomy, please notify the doctor before beginning the tests. The tests can be still be done, but modifications will be made, if you wish, you may also take pain medication before the tests and you are encouraged to continue your usual medications as prescribed because they will not affect the test results. Other than a mild tenderness where the needles are placed, there are no significant complications expected.

Nerve Test Wave Form


What’s next?

 Schedule an EMG appointment.

Also add EMG waveform traces.