Using Electromyography to Find the Cause of your Pain

At some point in your life, you may be unlucky enough to suffer through pain in your muscles, joints or nerves. Finding the root cause of these pains can be difficult as pain felt in the neck can often times be linked to a pinched nerve lower on the spinal column. One of the more common ailments that can be hard to diagnose is carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition is due to a pinched nerve in the wrist and causes numbness, tingling and pain in your thumb and fingers. One of the most helpful ways to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome is with an EMG.

Understanding EMG Procedures

Electromyography, or EMG, is a medical technique used to evaluate the electrical activity within your muscles. It has been used to diagnose a wide range of neuromuscular diseases including polymyalgia, polymyositis, and more. Specifically, an EMG procedure can help determine the causes of spinal pain, thoracic pain, and help with understanding nerve compression issues such as carpal tunnel. The purpose is to help pinpoint the exact location you are experiencing pain, tingling or weakness to narrow down a specific diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been made, proper treatment can commence.

1. Electrodes are placed either on the skin with a surface EMG procedure, or use fine wire needles for intramuscular EMG.

2. A small electrical current will be transmitted through the electrode which can be felt as a twinge in your muscle. Many say it feels similar to a small static shock.

3. During the EMG, your neurologist will record any spontaneous activity within the muscle. You may be asked to move certain areas of your hand or wrist to aid in the diagnosis.

4. Once completed, you may experience some soreness and bruising in the area that was tested. This is normal, and should be minor. The bruises will fade over a few days.

5. Once finished, your neurologist will view the results and compile them into a report for your primary care doctor. This will determine your treatment options.

While the overall idea of an EMG may be uncomfortable for some, especially with the thought of needles or electrical impulses, many patients have reported the pain and discomfort to be extremely minor. However, getting a proper diagnosis and treatment course can help bring you many pain free days, months, and even years! For sufferers of carpal tunnel or a range of other ailments, an electromyography could be the best and only option for finding the cause of your pain.

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