Electrodiagnostic testing involves Nerve Conduction Studies and electromyography (EMGs), both of which play a role in the evaluation of patients with neuromuscular complaints. The information gained from electrodiagnostic testing can often lead to specific and timely medical diagnosis and treatment.
Nerve conduction studies and electromyography help to diagnose disorders of the peripheral nervous system (nerves and muscles) by helping to differentiate between a sensory nerve dysfunction versus a motor nerve dysfunction.
In peripheral nerve problems, in addition to distinguishing between a sensory nerve and motor nerve problem, electrodiagnostic testing can identify the location and the extent of nerve or muscle dysfunction.
Furthermore, electrodiagnostic testing can give a clue to the chronicity or the temporal course of an underlying disorder.
Electrodiagnostic testing is done by using an EMG machine and involves a nerve conduction velocity study (NCV) and needle electromyography. Nerve conduction velocity studies involve activating the nerves with small, controlled electrical pulses over pre-determined points on the skin and measuring the neurophysiological responses.
Responses are measured from the nerve or muscle supplied by the nerve being activated.
These responses provide information on the general function and health of the nerve.
Electromyography (also known as needle EMG) involves measuring the electrical activity of the muscles by using a needle electrode.
EMG responses provide information on the general function and health of the muscle being tested.
Most importantly, in addition to revealing nerve and muscle dysfunction, electrodiagnostic testing can reveal normal neuromuscular function, which can help the physician to formulate a treatment plan and to reassure the patient of their concerns.
Provocative Discography is used to identify whether a disc(s) is causing back pain. A disc may be painful when it tears, herniates, or degenerates. Discography is considered when contemplating surgery or potential intradiscal treatment.
Written and Compiled By:
Dr Mauricio Acebey