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Electromyography (EMG) & Nerve Conduction Studies

Coastal Neurology Services

EMG and Nerve Conduction Studies

An EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction.  A Nerve Conduction Study measures how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals. 

Why should I have it done?

This test is a tool used to help diagnose damage to muscle tissue, nerves or the connection between the nerves and muscles. We also use this testing to find the cause of weakness, numbness, tingling or muscle twitching. The nerve conduction helps find damage to the nerves that lead away from the brain as well as the smaller nerves that branch off of those nerves.

How should I prepare for this test?

  • Please be sure your doctor knows all medications you are taking.
  • Please be sure your skin is free of lotions, oils, creams and sprays. The test requires electrodes to be placed on your skin.
  • Please wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing, so it is easier to access the site to be tested. In some cases, you may be asked to wear a hospital gown. 

What should I expect?

The test can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.  During this time, you’ll be asked to sit or lie on a bed so your muscles are relaxed. During the EMG portion of the test, the doctor will insert a small needle electrode into a muscle to record the resting muscle activity. We will ask you to tighten the same muscle while the electrical activity can be recorded. The electrode may need to be moved to a different area of the muscle or to a different muscle.

During the nerve conduction portion of the test, the doctor will attach two types of electrodes to your skin, one over a nerve and one over the muscle that the nerve controls. You will be able to feel small electrical pulses.

What should I expect after the test?

Sometimes the area of testing is sore. If this happens, put a cold pack on the area for 10-20 minutes. Be sure to place a thin cloth between the cold pack and your skin.  You may also want to take an over the counter pain medication (acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen). 

Please call the office if you develop worsening swelling, tenderness or signs of infection at the needle site.

Your test results will be sent to the ordering provider. Please let our office know if there are other providers that should receive a copy of the test results.

Contact Us

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

789 Central Avenue

Dover, New Hampshire 03820

Phone: (603) 742-5252

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