What is EMG?
Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic study of muscles and the nerves that control them. EMG is used to detect neuromuscular disorders like myasthenia gravis, nerve compression conditions like carpal tunnel, and nerve root injuries like sciatica or a herniated disc. A doctor may order an EMG if you show signs or symptoms of having a nerve or muscle disorder related to back or spine pain, muscle weakness, limb numbness, or tingling. Based on the results of your EMG, recommended treatment paths vary from rest or medication to injections or surgery.
EMG at Atlantic Orthopaedics
At Atlantic Orthopaedics, we offer onsite EMG testing. Our staff are trained to use EMG to assess muscle and nerve health and to diagnose nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction, and problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission. In specific cases, our general orthopedists, sports medicine providers, and surgical teams may also order an EMG to help identify or track progress with issues related to impingements or other nerve conditions or injuries that are impacting your everyday quality of life or your ability to perform ‘on the field.’
If you are interested in scheduling an EMG, please call our offices: 603-431-1121 (Portsmouth, NH), 207-363-3490 (York, ME), or request an appointment for EMG consultation through our Online Scheduling Form.
More Info | EMG
Learn what conditions and injuries are often identified with EMG tests, what to expect and how to prepare for an EMG test, and what type of treatments are often recommended based on the results of your nerve conduction study.
We use EMG to diagnose nerve conditions and injuries related to back and spine pain, muscle weakness, general tingling, and numbness. The following are common examples of symptoms, conditions, and injuries for which your doctor may order an EMG.
Lumbar back pain
Muscle pain or cramping
Certain types of limb pain
Lumbar back pain
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Nerve Root Injury (Sciatica)
If you have pain and think you need an EMG, please reach out to us to schedule a consultation.
There are two parts to an EMG study.
- Nerve conduction study, in which small electrodes are applied to the skin to measure the speed and strength of signals traveling between points. During the nerve conduction study portion of an EMG, patients may feel a tiny electrical current that causes their limbs to move. This is normal.
- Needle EMG, in which a needle is inserted into a muscle to see the electrical activity in that muscle. Like the nerve conduction study, the needle EMG portion of the study may be uncomfortable but that usually ends shortly after the needle is removed.
Each study produces signals and these signals are translated into various graphs, sounds, or numerical values. A specialist will read your report and discuss findings at your follow-up appointment.
Please reach out to us if you have questions we did not answer, need clarity, or want to schedule a consultation with a physiatrist to discuss EMG.
603-431-1121 (Portsmouth, NH)
207-363-3490 (York, ME)
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EMG is a low-risk procedure, and complications are rare. There is a small risk of infection, bleeding, and very rare circumstances of nerve injury.
No evidence exists indicating that performing EMG studies on patients with cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators pose a safety hazard. If you have an implanted electrical stimulation device such as a spinal cord stimulator or deep brain stimulator arrangements should be made prior to EMG to have these devices turned off during the study.
We want you to feel prepared for your EMG. Contact us if you have any concerns.
Our providers and staff are here to help you prepare for your EMG. They will discuss the safety with you — including risk mitigation related to devices in your body — as well as what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.
On the day of your EMG study, please do not apply lotions or creams. In most cases, you do not need to come off of your blood thinner prior to the procedure. If you are having your arms evaluated you can wear a comfortable short sleeve shirt. If your legs are being evaluated please bring in a pair of shorts. If you don’t remember, a hospital gown will be provided.
Please reach if you have questions about how to prepare for your EMG. We are happy to help.
Our staff is trained to interpret the result of your EMG. They will analyze the graphs, sounds, and values from your nerve conduction study and needle EMG, and then they will discuss the findings or appropriate next steps with you.
Contact our offices to learn more about the details of your EMG.
Depending on your EMG results, the severity of your pain, and other related factors, further treatment or intervention may be necessary. The following are examples of what might be recommended by your doctor.
Please reach out if you think you’re in need of an EMG or have questions. Our staff is happy to help you.
Diagnose Your Pain with EMG
We offer onsite EMG testing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.