Montefiore Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
When your doctor suggests Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV), it’s likely because pain has begun to limit your daily functioning. So what are these tests?
EMG and NCV testing is generally used to accurately determine injuries to the nerves or nerve roots as well as diseases of the nerves and muscles. The two tests—usually given together—help us pinpoint whether your particular problem stems from the muscles or the nerves.
Both will help your doctor understand the reasons for:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle pain or cramping
- Certain types of limb pain
- Radiating neck or back pain
The EMG shows the cause of pain by looking at the condition of your muscles and nerves and measuring electrical activity in response to stimulation of the muscle. The NCV test identifies nerve damage by showing how fast electrical signals move through a nerve.
Both the EMG and NCV give your medical specialist the information needed to diagnose conditions like:
- Nerve Entrapment, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Ulnar neuropathy, Peripheral Neuropathy (including diabetic) and Bell’s palsy.
- Radiculopathies—cervice and lumbosacral.
- Brachial/Lumbosacral plexus injuries.
- Diseases that affect the motor neurons in the brain or spinal cord, such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Polio.
- Neuromuscular junction disorders such as Myasthenia Gravis and Lambert- Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome.
- Muscle diseases including polymyositis, myopathy and dermatomyositis.
Once we understand the cause of your problem, our highly-trained physiatrists discuss treatment options with you. Depending on your condition, treatment may include use of a splint or brace, physical therapy, occupational therapy and medications for pain management.