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How Can EMG and NCV Tests Help You?

Last updated: Dec 18, 2022 Post in Neurology in Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

Muscle weakness and numbness in arms, legs, and hands, or muscle cramps and paralytic symptoms should not be taken lightly, as they can restrict your activities and disturb routines. Visit the top neurologists in NY to have your condition accurately diagnosed with advanced testing methods such as EMG and NVC. The expert physicians at the Century Medical and Dental Center use a combination of electrodiagnostic studies to accurately figure out the causes behind your symptoms and to provide quick relief.

Doctors often recommend EMG with an NCV test to distinguish a nerve disorder from a muscle disorder. NCV detects a problem with the nerve, whereas an EMG detects whether the muscle is working correctly in response to the nerves stimulus.

An EMG or electromyogram is a test that detects the electrical activity of the muscles. Electrical activity is routine and necessary for muscle movement. This test shows any change in that electrical activity. On the other hand, the NCV, or nerve conduction velocity exam strives to identify the health of the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord.

EMG and NCV Testing

If you suffer from frequent muscle weakness or soreness or experience tingling, numbness, or any other abnormal sensations, there are chances you are suffering from some muscle or nerve problem. To know what is causing these discomforting symptoms and how to get the best treatment, proper testing, and diagnosis are essential.

EMG and NCV are the most popular approaches that provide the answers you seek with efficient and accurate testing methods. Both these tests are often performed, at the same time, under the supervision and guidance of an experienced physician. These comprehensive tests help the physician determine if you suffer from muscular or nerve damage.

EMG and nerve conduction study are needed if you have symptoms of a muscle or nerve disorder. Some common symptoms of muscular or nerve disturbance include:

  • Weakness in muscles;
  • Tingling or numbness in arms, legs, feet, hands, and face;
  • Muscular cramps, spasms, or twitching;
  • Paralysis of any muscles.

During electrodiagnostic testing, EMG and NCV calculate the amount of electrical activity in your muscles and nerves. They are an indispensable solution to know more about the causes of nerve pain, neuropathy in hands and legs, and many other specific neuropathy types like diabetic peripheral neuropathy and peripheral polyneuropathy. They can also help in diagnosing several other conditions that affect your daily life routines.
EMG and NCV Tests

What Is an EMG Test?

The EMG test or an Electromyography is for identifying neuromuscular abnormalities. It assesses muscular health and the condition of the nerve cells that control these muscles. These nerve cells send out electrical signals that are in charge of muscle contraction and relaxation.

How Does the EMG Test Help in Diagnosis?

EMG test measures the way muscles respond or the electrical activity that results from a nerve’s stimulation. The test translates the electrical signals into numbers or graphs, which, in turn, help the doctor in diagnosing your condition accurately.

Doctors recommend an electromyography test if you are suffering from a muscle or nerve disorder. This test not only pinpoints the precise location of the injury, but also provides crucial information about the degree to which the muscle or nerve is damaged. These days EMG test is used for diagnosing a variety of medical conditions. They include something as simple as carpal tunnel syndrome to complex medical issues like ALS.

How Does the EMG Test Take Place?

An electromyography test usually takes between 30 to 60 minutes if everything goes well. The length of the procedure relies on the complaint and the results of the test. The test may occur in two parts.

It is not a painful procedure, but the patients may feel some discomfort. However, this feeling is so fleeting that most patients undergo the test without requiring pain medication or anesthesia.

The two elements of an EMG test include:

Needle exam for muscle testing – in this part of the test, extremely thin needles are placed in several muscles. Each needle has a microscopic electrode that measures the normal and abnormal signals given off by a muscle.

Nerve conduction study – in this part, low-intensity electric shocks are used for stimulating the nerves at several different points. The doctors assess the performance of these nerves by activating them.

What Is an NCV Test?

The nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test helps to detect nerve injury and dysfunction. Also referred to as a nerve conduction test, this procedure calculates the speed at which electrical signals travel through the peripheral nerves in the body.

Our peripheral nervous system is a network of motor and sensory nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. These nerves are situated outside the brain and run along your spinal cord. They play a significant role in controlling the muscles and experiencing various sensations. Nerves that get damaged due to any reason fail to function normally or perform well and cannot relay electrical signals as efficiently as normal ones.

How the NCV Test Helps in Diagnosing Nerve Damage?

With the help of an NCV test, an experienced physician can determine if you are suffering from damage to the nerve fiber or any trauma to the myelin sheath, a sleeve of fatty tissue that protects the nerve cells. This test also enables the physician to distinguish between a nerve disorder and nerve injury affecting the muscles.

Accurate diagnosis is crucial for precise and effective treatment, and these tests help make definite distinctions.

Conditions Diagnosed

Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Tests help to detect various medical problems accurately. These conditions can include:

  • Peripheral nerve damage;
  • Facial nerve damage;
  • Nerve damage in the neck, such as cervical radiculopathy;
  • Nerve damage in the shoulder;
  • Nerve damage in the arm;
  • Nerve damage in hand, such as carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • Ulnar nerve damage;
  • Nerve damage in the lower back such as lumbar radiculopathy;
  • Sciatica nerve damage;
  • Nerve damage in the leg;
  • Nerve damage in the foot;
  • Diabetic nerve damage.

Symptoms of Muscular and Nerve Pain and Damage

EMG and NCV tests help physicians diagnose the reasons behind muscle cramping, weakness in extremities, spine-related issues that result in numbness or tingling sensation, and various other health conditions.

Your doctor may recommend a comprehensive EMG test or just an NCV test if you are experiencing symptoms including:

  • Numbness, including diabetes numbness;
  • Reduced sensation or feel;
  • Continuous tingling feeling;
  • Burning sensation or radiating pain;
  • Muscle spasms or weakness;
  • Trouble performing day-to-day activities like buttoning clothes, handling objects, or walking;
  • Pain in the neck;
  • Shoulder pain;
  • Back pain;
  • Arm pain or numbness;
  • Leg pain or numbness;
  • Peripheral neuropathy.

Getting your symptoms diagnosed with the most accurate testing methods helps identify the conditions that affect your life and routine. By recording the electrical signals moving through your muscles, the doctor will be able to detect the presence, location, and extent of any disease that has damaged the nerves and muscles.

What Happens During EMG Test?

  • You will be asked to lie down on a table or bed;
  • The technician or the doctor will clean the skin or the muscles that are being tested;
  • The doctor will place a needle electrode into the muscle; it may be a little painful or cause discomfort when it is inserted;
  • The machine will record the muscle activity while it is at rest;
  • Then the doctor will ask you to tighten or contract the muscle slowly and steadily;
  • The electrode will be placed on various muscles to record their activity and test their movement;
  • The electrical activity is recorded and shown on a monitor and it is also recorded and sent to an audio speaker;
  • The muscle activity is displayed as wavy and spiky lines, and you may hear popping sounds as the muscles contract.

If you are having both tests, the nerve conductive study will be carried out first. NCV can determine the location of the nerve injury by measuring the speed and intensity of the electrical impulse traveling down a nerve. In damaged nerves, the electrical impulse will be slower and weaker. Knowing how to prepare for an EMG NCV test will help you go through it easily and understand what the doctor is trying to accomplish.

What Happens During NCV TEST?

  • You will be asked to lie down or sit on a bed or table;
  • The technician will attach one or more electrodes to a certain nerve or nerve with the help of a tape or paste;
  • The electrodes also called stimulating electrodes to deliver a mild electrical pulse that helps to identify any damage to the nerves;
  • Different types of electrodes will be attached to the muscle or muscles that are controlled by these nerves to record the responses to the electrical stimulation from the nerve;
  • The doctor will initiate a small pulse of electricity through the stimulating electrodes to stimulate the nerve to send a signal to the muscle that may cause a mild tingling sensation;
  • The doctor will keep an eye on the time it takes the muscles to respond to the nerve signals;
  • The speed of this response is called the conduction velocity.

It may take around 20 to 30 minutes to test one limb. Typically, the test is done along the path of the nerves on an arm or a leg, depending on the condition being investigated. Depending on your symptoms, the doctor may want to perform the test in more than one location. If all the limbs are being tested, it may take more than an hour.

The expert neurologists at the Century Medical and Dental Center focus on accurate diagnosis and best treatment based on your results. They use EMG and NCV tests as they are extremely safe, reliable and deliver the best observations regarding the patient’s medical condition.

Do not ignore nerve pain or any type of muscle fatigue and weakness as it could lead to serious health complications in the long run. Schedule an appointment with neurologists in NY to enjoy the best solutions for a pain-free life. The pain specialists use these tests for diagnosing several conditions and come up with customized and comprehensive treatment plan that puts you on a speedy road to recovery. With accurate diagnosis and nerve pain relief, you can benefit from overall better quality of life.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 18, 2022 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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