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I hope everyone is doing well. My neurologist just told me yesterday that I need to get an EMG, but refuses to tell me why. I looked online and saw that it is used to diagnose about a billion things, and since I've seen the word float around the forum quite a bit, I was wondering the reasons that you guys have had them. My neuro claims that it's painless, but he hasn't always been completely truthful about such things, so any tips/advice would be really appreciated. :P

Thanks so much!

Sarina ;)

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Guest tearose

Hi Sarina,

It was not a pleasant test. I don't want to deter you from a test that may help your doctor treat you! Let me put it this way, EMG stands for:

Eeeeeeek My Gooonesss! The test will stimulate your nerves and muscles. If you feel pain then things are probably working fine. If you don't feel anything or respond, then things are not working.

best regards, tearose

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It wasn't painless, it hurt but not bad enough to avoid the test. I've had it done several times. Not sure what they were looking for. Whatever it was they didn't find it.

Good luck.

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I agree, it hurt, but not so bad as to make my doc stop the test. Felt kind of like a bee sting in each location they checked (mine was arms and hands, so I had about 6 or 7 locations on each side). I've had 3 EMG's. Basically, they do the test to measure nerve functioning-- the test tells wether or not nerve signals are travelling normally.

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My neurologist prescribed an EMG to try to figure out source of numbness and tingling in my hands; carpal tunnel was suspected (and I knew actually was the case b/c I'd been on the computer and using the mouse more than was typical for me). She was frank and told me the test wasn't particularly pleasant... I opted not to have it and to wear a brace on my hand/wrist for a while. That worked. (Until the cervical spine bulging disks and arthritis kicked in, but that's another story. ;) )

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I have had an EMG. I have a great pain tolerance and even though I have fibromyalgia, this didn't bother me but in a few places. it felt like some skin pricks. But it was WORTH it cause even though I have no repetitive motion, I have bilateral carpal tunnel. Though my neck MRI was "normal", I had a pinched nerve 20 some years ago and it always hurts in the same place.

Now, when it acts up, it affects both arms and sometimes the ulnar nerve (aka crazy bone at elbow) Now then they tested the ulnar nerve, THAT smarted and I almost slapped the doctor because the reflex it provoked from the simulation, lol.

I was told a horror story RIGHT before the test that some people get up and leave it is so painful. (Ignorant female staffer) Now, had this test been done on my back (my entire back can't take normal touch or soft massage) I would've had a hard time. But I was lying on my back and able to keep my eyes closed and just relax.

it was worth it BY FAR to confirm what we had suspected and the MRI lied about (??) since the neck pain triggers the intermittent bilateral CTS.

Recently, I have seen stand up MRI's advertised in my area. That would've made sense for me since my neck HURTS sometimes when standing, but is often relieved when lying down (unless I have done something to aggravate it)

But I do believe EMG tests can be more exacting about some dx but my swiss cheese brain at the moment can't remember.

Hope this helps. A few seconds of discomfort is worth it to GET ANSWERS.

Good luck and just breathe deep and keep your eyes closed...that can help.

Oh, and ask your doc WHY you are having it done. It is your right to know.

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I'm a newbie to the group and don't have POTS however, my son was just diagnosed. I HAVE HAD A EMG and it is not painless but, depending on where and how long they test it doesn't have to be painful either.

Do not allow them to test your entire body in one day. That was my stupid mistake.

My legs didn't hurt however, my arms ached like I had over exercised them for days. Mild over the counter pain relievers helped some. Remember that pain is different for everyone and the more you relax (easier said then done sometimes) the less painful it is.

Good luck!

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EMG's are usually done if the doctor suspects the nerves are impinged (pinched), and can show where the problem stems from. In my case, I have "active denervation" which at first my doc thought was carpal tunnel (a wrist problem), but in fact it stems from my spine and the nerve is in the process of dying off. Have persistent "dysthesias", which are uncomfortable sensations in the affected hand--from shooting pains, to a sensation of spikes through my fingernails, to itching and burning, and numbness. The physical therapy I recieve is to help try to stabilze my spine and work the muscles that have the dying nerve--trying to help it "perk back up". As long as it's not completely gone, I have the potential to get back some function. Currently, my left hand is very weak, as is the entire left arm.

Additionally, there are neuromuscular and/or nerve disorders that can cause your nerves to malfunction--for example, ALS and other motor neuron disorders, auto immune neuropathies, multiple sclerosis, etc.

See this site for loads of info--to see related disorders, follow the links in each section to the pages that interest you:



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Thanks everyone so much! I have the test scheduled for a week from Tuesday, and feel much better knowing that it's not unbearable. I'll let you guys know if they find anything.

Oh, and ask your doc WHY you are having it done.? It is your right to know.

I agree! I'm almost 16 and perfectly capable of articulating how I feel, but my neurologist insists on one of my parents coming into all appts, and talks directly to them. I asked him on the phone, but he just wouldn't say why he wanted the test...oh well.

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