Nerve conduction studies measure how fast the nerves send electrical signals and an electromyogram (EMG) measures the electrical activity of the nerves while resting as well as while contracting. Muscles are controlled by the nerves sending electrical signals (otherwise known as impulses). These signals give the muscles direction on which way to move or react and with nerve damage, these impulses may be affected and cause the muscles to work abnormally.
When is an EMG performed?
An EMG is done for several reasons. First, they can help find diseases that are affecting and damaging muscles or nerves. In addition, these tests can help find the reason why you maybe have muscle weakness, paralysis, or muscle pain.
When is a nerve conduction study performed?
Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests can show how fast electrical signals are moving through the nerves of your muscles. The purpose of the test is to find out if there is nerve damage or to see if a nerve has been totally destroyed. In some cases, the test can help diagnose nerve or muscle diseases.
During each of these tests, you will be asked to lie on a doctor’s table or bed or sit in a reclining position. For an EMG, wires will be connected to a needle electrode and the doctor will ask you to flex your muscle slowly, and then rest. This will show electrical currents in your muscle both at rest and while contracting. The test may be 30 to 60 minutes and it’s common for the area tested to be sore for a few hours after.
During an NCV, there will be disc electrodes attached to the skin with a sticker or paste. An electrode that gives off a shock will be directly placed on the nerve and administered. There will be several quick pulses given and the electrical pulse is recorded.
Your doctor will usually be able to see some initial results right after the tests, but full reports may take a couple of days.
For information on these tests, contact Dr. Cash for an appointment at www.disclv.com.