EMG & Nerve Conduction Studies

EMG & Nerve Condition Studies

EMG & Nerve Conduction Studies

An electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction study is a specialized test of your nerves and muscles which is used to diagnose or identify the cause of symptoms like numbness, tingling, burning pain, pins and needles sensation, or muscle weakness. First, an electrical impulse is used to stimulate some nerves in your upper and/or lower extremities, which will allow Dr. Jeannot to assess how rapidly and effectively your nerves are working. In other words, we are measuring how fast and how strongly your nerves are sending signals to your muscles. In other cases, the brain and spinal cord are not sending the right impulse to the nerves. Then, during the electromyography, a very small, thin needle is inserted into your muscles to record their electrical activity and evaluate if your nerves are sending the correct signals to those muscles.

The most common disorders diagnosed with this test include:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A condition caused by compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most common entrapment neuropathy. It is more common in women and patients between the ages of 30 and 60 years of age. This nerve supplies some of the muscles that control movements of the wrist, hand and fingers, and provides sensation to the thumb, index, middle and the lateral half of the ring ringer. The most common causes are repetitive movement of the wrists and use of the hands, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, wrist fracture or dislocation, swelling, pregnancy and menopause. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Symptoms include pain, numbness, burning, and/or tingling in the above-mentioned area of the hand, as well as weakness, difficulty grasping objects and even dropping things. These symptoms may be worse at night and might even wake you up from your sleep. Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment options include anti-inflammatory medication wearing a wrist splint, especially at bedtime, that would hold your wrist in a neutral position, a hand/occupational therapy course, injections, and in severe cases that fail conservative management, surgical intervention.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

A condition caused by compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow. It is the second most common entrapment neuropathy after Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Also known as "the funny bone nerve," it supplies muscles in the anterior compartment of the forearm and the majority of muscles in the hand, and provides sensation to the medial side of the forearm, the medial half of the ring finger, and the pinkie finger. The most common causes include repetitive movements of the elbow, applying too much pressure for long periods of time on the elbow, trauma, fractures, swelling or bone spurs. Symptoms, which are worse with the elbow bent, include numbness and/or tingling down the forearm into the ring and pinkie fingers, weak grip and clumsiness, and hand pain. Treatment options include anti-inflammatory medication, avoiding excessive and repetitive pressure on the elbow, physical and occupational therapy, elbow splints or pads that will keep the elbow straight and cushion the area, as well as surgery for severe cases.

Peripheral Neuropathy

A condition that occurs when peripheral nerves are damaged, usually in the hands and feet, although it may also affect other areas and body functions like digestion and urination. Peripheral neuropathy typically begins at the end of the long nerves, like the sensory nerves of the hands and feet. The most common cause in the United States is diabetes. Other causes include hypothyroidism, alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies, chemotherapy, exposure to poisons and toxins, as well as infections like Lime Disease and HIV. The most common symptoms are numbness, tingling, burning, pins and needles, hypersensitivity to touch and/or sharp pain. It can also cause loss of balance and coordination, muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing and visual problems. Then most important factor to control the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy is to manage its underlying cause. Other treatment options include medications, physical and occupational therapy, and lifestyle changes like losing weight and exercising.

Pinched nerve in neck or lower back

Sciatica

Myopathy or muscle disease

A general term that refers to any disease that affects the muscles that control voluntary movements of the body. The main signs and symptoms are muscle weakness, stiffness, cramps, and spasms which are caused by a dysfunction of the muscle fibers. Some myopathies are genetic, but other common causes of myopathy include thyroid disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis , sarcoidosis, recreational drugs, alcohol, as well as some medications like antipsychotic drugs, chemotherapy agents, immunosuppressive agents, and cholesterol lowering drugs.

Central Nervous System Disease

Conditions like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), where spontaneous discharges from muscles that are no longer innervated are seen in the needle examination, and Myasthenia Gravis, where the EMG is usually normal but repetitive stimulation during nerve conduction studies shows decrements in the motor action potential.

Dr. Jeannot’s vast experience and expertise allow him to perform and interpret this test to accurately diagnose the reason for your symptoms. In most cases, your results will be available in 24-48 hours.

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