EMG – Nerve Study – My Pain Journey

EMG nerve study

I Fell Last Summer

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Since then, I have had tingling and numbness in my hands. So the doctors ordered a nerve study. A nerve study tests each of your nerves to see which ones are causing the problem. It is somewhat like a reflex test but a little deeper. Instead of, just tapping certain areas on your body that are sending small electric shocks in all these areas.

I really did think much about it until the PA at my pain clinic said, that he doesn’t like sending patients for an EMG because they hate him afterward. 🙂 So, I thought maybe I would look it up for myself.

What is a Nerve Study?

Here’s what Mayo Clinic had to say…

Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them (motor neurons). EMG results can reveal nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction or problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission.

Motor neurons transmit electrical signals that cause muscles to contract. An EMG uses tiny devices called electrodes to translate these signals into graphs, sounds or numerical values that are then interpreted by a specialist.

During a needle EMG, a needle electrode inserted directly into a muscle records the electrical activity in that muscle.

A nerve conduction study, another part of an EMG, uses electrode stickers applied to the skin (surface electrodes) to measure the speed and strength of signals traveling between two or more points.

Electromyography (EMG) – Mayo Clinic

That concerned me a bit, but actually, it was good to have the information in advance. I knew what to expect. And it turned out not quite so bad. The technician was very compassionate. He told me what was going to happen every step along and the way. And while some shocks were significant, It was momentary and quickly over.

Now, they only tested the upper body for me. Perhaps the lower body nerve study is more “shocking”. And there is always the chance that your technician won’t be as good or compassionate. My friend said that her full-body nerve study become much more uncomfortable.

Why do a nerve study?

EMG results are often necessary to help diagnose or rule out a number of conditions such as:

  • Muscle disorders, such as muscular dystrophy or polymyositis
  • Diseases affecting the connection between the nerve and the muscle, such as myasthenia gravis
  • Disorders of nerves outside the spinal cord (peripheral nerves), such as carpal tunnel syndrome or peripheral neuropathies
  • Disorders that affect the motor neurons in the brain or spinal cord, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or polio
  • Disorders that affect the nerve root, such as a herniated disk in the spine

My Nerve Study Results

They only tested the upper body for me. And for the most part, my nerves are in good condition. The reports showed no problems in the shoulders or arms. But there is something going on in the neck, which I figured was the problem as I have had neck issues for years due to rheumatoid arthritis. I may have more testing in the near future. I am waiting for an appointment with a neurologist.

Hoping this neurologist can see me soon and also, give me an ultra-sound guided occipital nerve block. Most neurologists have a long waiting list for procedures.

This is where I stand at this time.

Feeling Your Pain;



Electromyography (EMG) – Mayo Clinic

Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) | Department of Neurology & Ophthalmology (msu.edu)

nerve study EMG

About Mandy Farmer

Pastor's Wife (retired) &  Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.

View all posts by Mandy Farmer

6 Comments on “EMG – Nerve Study – My Pain Journey”

  1. Sorry for all your pain, Mandy. I hope you are able to get the appointment with a neurologist soon and get some answers. Thanks for sharing about what the EMG can help to find. It’s pretty interesting. Blessings to you, Mandy! xo

  2. Thank you for giving us such an informing post once again, Mandy! I was thankful for a very compassionate Dr when I had my nerve study done also. I’m praying that you are able to see your new Neurologist very soon, dear friend!

  3. Hi GAyl! Haven’t seen you in a while. I guess the 28-day challenge brought you back. 🙂 My goal these days is to share what’s happening and help people know what to expect. There’s nothing worse than going to a new test or procedure with no clue of what to expect.
    I hope you are doing well these days.

  4. I hope to hear from the neaurologist this week and get an appointment scheduled. She said it takes three weeks and that would be today. fingers crossed. 🙂

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