Patient Comments: Electromyogram - Experience


Please describe your experience receiving an electromyogram. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: katie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 27

I am dismayed that people are creating fear about electromyogram here. I had this test today in several places. It really was nothing, just a little weird, not even uncomfortable. If it was painful it would warrant a local anesthetic; it doesn't. Please don't worry if you are having this done.

Comment from: j, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 21

During the electromyogram test it was not too bad, I had it done in my left hand from elbow to my fingertips due to slipped disc in my neck. I am not joking, the pain afterwards! No one should get this test done, I'm not joking, and find out afterwards they were just looking for more information and didn't know either slipped disc before they did the test. My hand is throbbing as I'm typing this with my right hand and pain from the slipped disc is bad when your turn and twist, but after the test it's just constant.

Comment from: JoD, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

After reading most of the comments on electromyogram here I was very anxious about my nerve study today. I must say it was tolerable and I've had much more painful things, i.e. shingles, migraines, gall bladder attacks, nerve blocks, costochondritis, gastroparesis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout, just to name some and put in perspective. Do not worry about these 2 tests.

Comment from: Dah, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 20

I had the electromyogram several days ago in my lower leg/foot. I asked my doctor if it would be painful and he said no. It shouldn't be. Well, the doctor who performed my test put it to me. It was horrible and at some point I broke down in tears. I am not a crier and can endure a lot of pain. After bringing me to tears he said to get a better read, we need to do a muscle test where I put the electrodes in the muscles of your feet. I said absolutely not! I will never subject myself to that torture ever.

Comment from: Lora, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I had an electromyogram last week and left shaking my head. The pain was either barely there or so bad it made my legs jump and kick. This was in no way controlled by me. My left leg jerked and kicked more than the right, significantly. The doctor said that the results were pretty good. How is that possible when both legs behaved differently!

Comment from: Cvava, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I was very fearful of my first electromyogram in my legs after researching comments regarding the pain. I could not believe, as many of you have said how easy it was. So when I was scheduled to have my arms done due to pinched nerves in my neck, I was not fearful at all. Well, it was the most horrible thing I have ever been through. I was in tears and pain for hours afterwards. I read someone's comment that said, if you don't have damage, it doesnt hurt much, the worse damage the more pain, perhaps that's the reason.

Comment from: Muscle disease guy, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

I've had an electromyogram (EMG) with nerve conduction study done twice, testing the muscles in my legs and arms. The nerve conduction studies didn't bother me at all; just a slightly weird sensation, no pain. The first EMG caused no pain whatsoever; I could hardly feel the needles. The second EMG didn't hurt at first, but the last few needle sticks were painful; fairly bad, sudden, sharp pain, but only lasting a second or two. Even with those last few painful needles, for me the test wasn't a big deal.

Comment from: Torture is us, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 30

I had an electromyogram earlier this year prior to surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. It was absolute torture; despite my obvious distress, the neurologist never expressed concern. Abu Ghraib prison comes to mind. I was so disoriented and terrorized afterward, I should not have attempted driving, as I could not focus and came close to causing an accident. Eventually I found myself near a shopping mall, pulled into a parking lot, and shuddered for some time. Never again.

Comment from: Lisa, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

I was terrified after reading some of these comments on here, so got the ok to take a Xanax prior to the electromyogram test and it wasn't that bad. I am terrified of needles but it really wasn't bad. The worst one was in my shoulder but it was very quick. I had it done at a clinic in Jacksonville and they were very good. If you are having anxiety about it, ask your doctor for a Xanax to take before you go and this was my saving grace!

Comment from: Jess, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 19

I had an electromyogram test in both my hands today and it was painful. The needle portion especially. The shocks were, for lack of a better word, shocking, but it made me laugh more than scream because I wasn't expecting it. However, the needles hurt so much. One in particular in my right thumb. It still hurts a few hours later.

Comment from: Heart, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

After undergoing both the nerve conduction and electromyogram tests I felt so much anxiety, I was nauseous and finally felt relief after vomiting. I was grateful that my husband drove me home because I was disoriented and in pain as the test caused a flare up of my spinal stenosis. All this to learn that I have carpal tunnel syndrome. I will never submit myself to this torturous test again, if I can help it.

Comment from: Dobiegirl, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I had an electromyogram today on my lower leg and I have to say reading all these posts about it being so painful and even getting posttraumatic stress disorder shocks me. I even told the doctor, 'wow, that was not so bad at all.' Maybe whoever did your tests did not know what they were doing. For me it was no big deal and I deal with pain every day all day 24/7; don't fret it was not bad at all!

Comment from: nyjarc, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 03

I had an electromyogram test yesterday and after reading some of the comments I was terrified. For me there was no pain at all. It was a little uncomfortable but that's it. I had the testing for a pinched nerve in my neck. There might be other areas that are more sensitive and more painful depending where the problem is but for me there was no pain. My suggestion is, don't stress yourself out.

Comment from: Alison, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

I had an electromyogram a month ago in my temple and forehead and today in my legs and arms. I am so glad that I did not research first. I found the tests very easy to tolerate and would not hesitate to repeat if required.

Comment from: Shell, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 05

The electromyogram test wasn't painful for me. If I have to have it done again I would. My mother had it done a couple of months ago and she liked it. Me not so much. But it didn't hurt me.

Comment from: Princess, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 05

The electromyogram test was painful and the nerve conduction velocity test was extremely painful, like torture. I can't believe that doctors will allow this test. I now have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) because of that test. I cry every time I think about what I was put through. On top of that the male doctor yelled at me to relax. I would like to give him the test and see if he can relax. Don't have the test, it is torture.

Comment from: PTL, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 30

I had an electromyogram (EMG) test done yesterday. I had developed a fear of the procedure after reading many testimonials on the internet about painful experiences many people have undergone. I must tell you that I have had significantly more pain with acupuncture treatments than with the EMG test. The procedure was uncomfortable, but not painful. I have had neuropathy in my right heel for over a year. So, the nerve conduction velocity study and EMG test results were helpful in ruling out some possible causes.

Comment from: Vali, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 30

I had my electromyogram test today. I had worked myself up reading testimonials online. It was very overrated. The shocks were small irritants. My brain barely had the chance to process pain because they were over in no time. The popping noises in between were more bothersome. The needle portion was last. There was slight burning upon insertion and a dull aching while flexing the muscles. I strongly encourage anyone facing this procedure to not read other persons' experiences. No fear that way.

Comment from: LPB, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 24

I had my electromyogram test yesterday. After having my left arm tortured with the needles, I asked if I could postpone the right. The doctor talked me into having the right done then, and it was much different from the left - much less painful. This morning my left arm feels like it's been through a wringer, as well as having the feeling of being cold. I sure hope this is temporary!

Comment from: Becca55, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 24

I had my electromyogram done almost 3 months ago now. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced. On a scale from 1 to 10 it was a 10 plus. Before the test I had a little pins and needles feeling in my toes and feet. Now I'm having pain all over my toes, feet, and legs. It now has also moved to my stomach, arms and hands. There are times I can't even put any pressure down on my feet. I also am experiencing a stabbing piercing sharp pain on top of my feet. I don't sleep from the pain. I have spinal stenosis and 2 bulging discs plus arthritis all in my back. I have bursitis in my hips and spinal stenosis in my neck.

Comment from: Tstano77, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 23

If someone says they would do an electromyogram again, I don't believe it. I've had 10 surgeries and this was worse. The most horrible part was I asked the doctor to stop and he ignored me. I asked a second time and told him I didn't want to continue the test and he ignored me. I then said it a 3rd time, to stop immediately, and he kept going. There was no nurse in the room to help me. I was never so terrified. I had 3 nightmares the day after test. I'm thinking about counseling.

Comment from: Rellik0078 , 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 16

I got an electromyogram 3 days ago and let's just be completely 100 percent honest. It hurt terribly; pure agony, pure torture and I just don't understand why doctors force you to do things like this when they know it is going to cause pain when they should have given you a shot of morphine or Dilaudid or even a muscle relaxant to calm your pain. I mean out of 10 I would probably give it an 8, that's how bad it was. I can't explain the pain. But By the end of the 20 minutes I was in tears crying.

Comment from: Kalynn0225, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 16

I had an electromyogram today with electrodes and then needles checking for carpal tunnel. The electrodes were not too bad. A few were more painful. I thought my hand reflexes might slap the doctor! The needles were the worst; inserted in the fleshy part of the palm below the thumb, then moved around. Horribly painful. Had to do the right hand twice, then the left. Honestly an 11 on the pain scale. Also did the muscles in my upper arm. Not too bad there. Afterwards I sat in my car and cried for 15 minutes.

Comment from: Bob V., 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 10

Just got back from an electromyogram (EMG) test for carpal tunnel syndrome. For those of you worried about the pain, don't be! The electric shocks are an irritant at worst and not painful at all. In fact, I imagine them to be akin to what you would receive if you had purchased one of those late night infomercial muscle relaxant machines. The needles don't even feel like a skin pinch. In closing, truly, getting a tooth frozen at the dentist is a whole lot worse than the EMG test. Don't lose any sleep over it.

Comment from: wcrtc, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 09

I had my first electromyogram and nerve conduction velocity test today. It was unpleasant. I would do it again if I had to, but hopefully never again. It wasn't that painful for me, but very unnerving. After the test I had burning sensations and a general tired feeling in my legs and feet. The bad part was the anxiety attack I had while sitting in my car in the parking lot of the facility where the test was done. You may want to get someone to drive you if anxiety is an issue. Have no idea why it freaked me out so bad, but it did.

Comment from: Hastyslow, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 02

I had an electromyogram yesterday and while the test was annoying it was never really painful. It did cause extreme tiredness on the day, I slept from 2:30 that afternoon until 6:30 the next morning! I was completely wiped out. I also woke up with a terrible headache and it aggravated an issue in my neck which is so painful it actually knocks me off my feet. Normally happens 1 or 2 times a month but happened 4 times yesterday! It did diagnose chronic C7 radiculopathy and chronic pain syndrome so was worth it. MRI to come.

Comment from: Vance, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 23

I have had excruciating pain ever since my doctor has given me the electromyogram test. I have been taking pain medicine for the last three years, and my pain had subsided or had been camouflaged by the medicines. All of a sudden I had an accident with a car and my pain increased. Now my doctor gives me this test electromyogram where he sticks his pins of some sort in my L5 and S1, and now my pain is excruciating and running down my leg way worse than ever in my life. I don't know what to do next!

Comment from: Annee, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 23

After reading these dire reports, I was very concerned about the pain of an electromyogram (EMG) procedure. I didn't find it at all painful - the shots were like acupuncture shots and the electric impulse was no more than that. I assume that not all procedures or pain levels are alike but from my experience, it was not a big deal at all.

Comment from: marydee, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 17

I have had numerous electromyograms (EMGs) over the past 20 years and have a high tolerance for pain. No pain medicines when I gave birth to my 3rd child, so I know pain well! EMGs are very tolerable except for the back of the knee. Weird, I had one today and they held the shock in place for several minutes! Each knee. Pain scale 10 in the left knee and 8 in the right. I will never do another EMG. I can't sleep because it still hurts like crazy! I think it depends on the technician, same reason why getting blood work is a hit or miss with pain.

Comment from: Sara, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 06

My electromyogram (EMG) was more painful than birth contractions or even burning your hand! I could not walk properly for the first few hours and I had very sore muscles and pain in my legs for 4 days later! And the surprise was that the result was normal! Although before the EMG I had pain in one leg, I mean night leg cramps, now I have pain in two!

Comment from: mlp, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 03

My herniated disc, migraines and back pain are way more pain than the electromyogram. Basically I thought it was a piece of cake!

Comment from: Sherilyn, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 20

Most of the electromyogram pain was pretty easy, not uncomfortable. Then he got to my shoulder. I cried. I have a high pain tolerance. My breaks don't show up, therefore no casts and no pain medicines. They show up 2 weeks later. Anyway, I also have arthritis and scoliosis and a bulging disc. I drive a truck. I also had my kids with no pain medicines. I suffered from pain for 6 months after this test. I had to test my wrists and arms. This test for some will be painful. Relaxing is the best information I can give you. Push the pain out into a spot in the wall and breathe, this will help.

Comment from: NMBear, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: June 04

I had an electromyogram when I was 25 years old. To put it simply, I think there would have been less pain in having my arm removed. Discovering a 24 percent nerve loss was not worth the pain I felt during the test. I could not even drive for 2 days afterward. Both arms took turns being numb or on fire.

Comment from: painrelief, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 31

I am a 43 year old male, many times half marathon runner, active and mostly healthy. I see my family doctor once or a few times each year for annual check, blood work and some minor issues. Beginning from a few weeks ago, I had paresthesia felt in the hands, arms, legs and feet. My family doctor referred me for a nerve conduction and electromyogram test. First the nerve conduction, most were okay, several were mildly painful and caused a big jump. But overall I can take it (pain level: 1 to 5 mild to moderate pain). Then, electromyogram test was the worst experience ever for me in a doctor's office. Needles were inserted to each arm (5 needles for each arm). I screamed probably twice. I told the doctor I didn't expect this. It's my first time to take a neurology test and I didn't do enough research. I had no idea the pain could be so intense (pain level: 5 to 7 moderate to severe pain, the intensity could be also from my anxiety). The doctor asked if I wanted to continue. I just wanted to get it done (because I knew I will probably not come back) and told him to proceed. Finally 4 stickers were supposed to be inserted into my back neck. When the second sticker was put on my skin, I broke down. I screamed and began to cry. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in the recent years, pain level 8 to 9! The doctor stopped immediately, apologized that it's so uncomfortable and the test was over. He also told me the result is normal so far. I still don't understand why some people are ok with these tests but some others like me had so much pain.

Comment from: HisWife, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 22

My husband has a very high pain tolerance but this electromyogram test made him scream three times. He's been thrown from motorcycles and cut off a couple of fingers with a snow blower as a kid. And still this ranks up there as a horribly painful experience. Maybe it depends what the test is for. They diagnosed degenerative disc disease, and we wouldn't have known that without this test. He also has diabetic neuropathy.

Comment from: Crystalcall , 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 15

I had an electromyogram and nerve test done today. At first I was checked in different areas of both legs with safety pins to see if I felt it. After that, the nerve test. Most of this test was ok but when the doctor got to my pelvis area it hurt terribly. One part in my leg hurt as well because it was like 8 shocks on the same nerve in the same place. The needles (about 9) that were inserted in my leg were not too bad. Overall though, I will never have this test done again.

Comment from: emerald77, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 10

I really don't know why anyone would read these! One person says it's horrifying while the next says that it was a piece of cake. I had electromyogram done 20 years ago and it was virtually painless. I had it done yesterday and thought they were shoving electrically charged ice picks into my hands. My advice; hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Most likely you're going to have the test no matter how horrible you think it may be.

Comment from: Flrman101, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 27

I had an electromyogram in my legs and back. Most pain is when they want you to push your muscle or bend your leg. I would say some parts are very painful but not prolonged pain.

Comment from: chapstick81, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 23

Reading up on this electromyogram test was the worst thing I could have done. The test was not that bad. First they do tiny shocks externally and make measurements. The second part was small needles inserted and you flex your muscles and they get some kind of reading from it. I have basically no pain tolerance and this test hardly felt like anything. Don't read all this comments and make yourself terrified.

Comment from: Avril, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 10

I had a nerve conduction and electromyogram test. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced! I sobbed because it was so traumatic. They never offered sedation. I gave birth to two children naturally with no epidural.

Comment from: Hansola, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 03

I had an electromyogram done because I was having an issue with neck pain and numbness to my extremities. I was a very fit 58 year old male at the time who thought that he had a fairly high tolerance to pain. The procedure was done at a local hospital. It was 30 minutes of brutal and painful experience. I would never put myself through anything like that again; ever.

Comment from: Cookitheef, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 27

I had nerve conduction/electromyogram (EMG) yesterday and I was nervous because I had read the reviews on this site first. I had it done on my legs and there was absolutely no pain at all. Nerve conduction was done first and only took about 1/2 hour. The doctor then came in and did EMG. She stuck me with a few needles like acupuncture needles. The entire process was painless!

Comment from: patmar213, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I just finished a nerve conduction/ electromyogram. For reference, I had it done in-office by neurologist to check for neuropathy. Overall, it really wasn't bad. I think much depends on the care and skill of the provider. She felt that only legs were necessary as normally legs show signs earlier than arms. The first part (shocks) was okay, several were mildly painful (and caused a big jump), but honestly they were over in a second. For the second part, needles were fine, probably 8. Only two hurt (several I barely felt at all), but she immediately took the needle out, rubbed my leg, gave me time/permission to move around, etc., and then re-inserted it at another location. I'm not sure it's location that matters; one was calf, other was opposite leg thigh. It's been 30 minutes and I feel mild soreness/pain in the two locations, but nothing major, maybe like a bee sting. It wasn't the most fun I've had this week, but can't complain too much.

Comment from: Jane, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 14

Electromyogram was the worst pain ever, never again will I go through this. I began to think of prisoners being tortured with electricity. I have a very high pain threshold but this was something else, would rather have a wisdom tooth out than this.

Comment from: StiffandSore, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 09

I had electromyogram done yesterday on one leg. It was extremely painful. It may have been because I am overweight and the doctor said my leg was a bit swollen and she had to keep increasing the voltage. My skin went red in a reaction to whatever was used; I couldn't see much as I was lying down. My partner was there holding my hand and if he hadn't been there I wouldn't have been able to tolerate what I did. I don't know what was the worst part, the electric shocks to find the nerves then the 10 strong electric shocks one after the other when the nerve was found or the subsequent muscle needles and having to move. I wouldn't ever have it done again, I will live with not being able to bend my toes and the weakness on one side I have; don't care, I am not having it again. The worst was the needles into the soft underpart of my foot. The skin is usually soft there for everyone because you don't walk on the arch but today my arch is covered in bruises from the needles and I feel like a human pincushion. I had needles in my foot, up my leg and into my hip and buttocks. Feel like I have to warn everyone and should have picked up when the doctor said to my partner, 'are you going to hold her when she starts screaming'. Don't care how useful it is as a diagnostic tool, I am not having it again.

Comment from: Lena M., 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 07

I had an electromyogram done 3 times and none of them fazed me at all. Like everyone I talk to says they hurt. I am not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing that I was not fazed by any of it. I have diabetic neuropathy in my legs and feet, and today it was done on arms and hand. I don't know if that means my nerves are good or bad.

Comment from: dreymsv, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I had an electromyogram test done yesterday. Saying it was uncomfortable is really underestimating it but it depends on the gravity of your situation. I had a herniated disk removed, L5-S1 with severe sciatica pain for one year, and the hernia reappeared, further compressing the sciatic nerve. This test only hurts a lot if your nerve is compressed (which is the case for me), I had extreme pain only in one of the three needle insertions (the rest of the exam wasn't a big deal). I have a really high tolerance for pain considering that I've had 3 cortisone infiltrations plus epidurals in my spine and 4 surgeries. The electrical shocks and the needle going in were unpleasant but overall it was tolerable, nothing to really worry about. You may be in pain for a few days and feel odd electrical like sensations in your legs. Take a Xanax before and you'll be fine.

Comment from: Italian candi, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 14

Don't be afraid! I had an electromyogram test done today and it was not bad at all. I was so anxious reading all these comments. The test was done on my leg, it was a little uncomfortable but definitely tolerable. My leg is sore but I was able to take my dog for a walk a few hours later. You will be fine, don't let all these negative comments scare you.

Comment from: LiftThis, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 15

I've read so many gruesome accounts of the electromyogram (EMG) test that I put it off for months. Well, I finally had the test today and it is not horrible at all. I realize that everyone has different pain thresholds, but the test is a piece of cake. Teeth cleanings hurt more than the EMG! If you're scheduled to have one, you have nothing, I repeat, nothing to worry about.

Comment from: Sweet Pea, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 23

Electromyogram was the most painful test I have ever had. The insertion of the needle was easy. However, once the electric current was turned on, the pain was awful especially when I was told to move my leg or foot. I was so happy when it was over. Unfortunately, the pain continued. It felt like my leg was heavy and I had a very deep ache. The pain finally lessened after 2 days. Never again.

Comment from: Thomas, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 16

I had an electromyogram today and found it a very unpleasant experience. The electrical jolts were unpleasant but not painful. The needles they stuck into the sides of my hand, however, were terrible. They were fine going in, but when they started moving them around it got very painful.

Comment from: KateyB, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 27

I couldn't believe all these comments I read, they really scared me! I went and had a nerve test and electromyogram done today on both arms. Nothing to be scared about! The needle they use is so tiny, and the nerve test isn't bad at all. It is no worse than hitting your funny bone lightly. No pain after, no bruising, no swelling. And I am a wuss! So please don't be scared. As long as you go to someone good, you'll be fine! There are way worse tests out there. This is the least to be worried about!

Comment from: PPSpatient, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 27

I had the nerve conduction velocity (NCV) which I believe is the painful test everyone is commenting about since they are using electrical current to measure the response of your nerves. It was a test my doctor warned me would hurt but was needed to confirm post-polio syndrome especially affecting my legs. Significant nerve damage was found and the test, which at times made me want to cry, was the most uncomfortable test I have ever had. At one time, I told the technician who was consistently increasing the voltage to try and get a response in one place, to stop or I was going to get up and leave. She moved on to the next place. But it wasn't just the electromyogram, it was the NCV.

Comment from: Jim D, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 26

I had an electromyogram yesterday, the needle pain was minimal, and the electrical impulse pain was only moderate. I would rate the discomfort total to about 3 on 10. Anxiety before test was high. I recommend not worrying prior to test, it's not very painful.

Comment from: Zokyah, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 19

I had an electromyogram the day after I had a lumbar puncture (LP), and the first thing I thought afterwards was that I'd rather go through another LP than having to suffer another hour of being shocked again and again. They didn't use a needle, but it still hurt awfully, and the most difficult thing is the length of the experience. They kept increasing the voltage because they couldn't quite read the results. The doctors were rather nice, but they couldn't help hurting me, all that to confirm a diagnosis that was kind of already certain. I really hope I never have to do that again.

Comment from: Hurting, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 08

My electromyogram was a horrible experience. Placing the needles was no problem but some of the test was like connecting me to an electric fence and then turning on the power. I hope to never go through it again. At one point the shock made my reflexes in my body jump all over. The person doing the test said, 'Look, he looks like a chicken flapping his wings,' and then he did that test 3 more times. I cannot tell you how bad that hurt. I have tendinitis in my right shoulder that has not bothered me for a long time now. After taking this test it has been hurting now for over a week. I am also noticing a large floater in my eye that I did not notice before. I will not take this test again. I am questioning the doctor's office that gave me the test and wondering if it was really necessary.

Comment from: taurusmgt, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I had 30 needles in my legs during my electromyogram and only felt the 1 behind my right knee. The rest I didn't feel at all.

Comment from: fibrogirl1, 45-54 (Patient) Published: July 10

I just got my electromyogram today. That hurts! I am not a foul word speaker, but it hurts. It was not 'uncomfortable', it hurt. I have a high tolerance for pain and I cried the entire second half and uncontrollably for 2 hours after I left. My doctor was rude, insulting and outright demeaning. And I do fill out the surveys. And I will fill out the survey for this visit.

Comment from: lucy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 06

I had an electromyogram done a week ago. It is uncomfortable but not painful. By cooperating the test will be much shorter. Mine took less than 1 hour. Hope this is helpful to anyone who is about to have one.

Comment from: Ottawon, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 05

I have neuropathic pain syndrome due to a car accident, with burning and stinging in both hands and feet. I am not diabetic. I had 2 electromyogram studies performed by different doctors. Luckily, there was only pin prick sensations or sometimes like getting a vaccination with a needle. It hurt a lot less than getting a shot in the mouth by a dentist. I know everyone has different problems and their bodies react differently. Best of luck to whoever needs to have this done.

Comment from: Barb, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: February 28

I had an electromyogram test 11 days ago. The test was not bad but I have more pain today than I have ever had in my life. I can't rest at night, can barely walk and am in constant pain somewhere in my body 24/7. The test was done in my legs and back. The neurologist said I have pinched nerves in both areas. I was fine when I left the office after the test. The pain gets progressively worse.

Comment from: Sue, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I had an electromyogram (EMG) today. I hope to goodness I never have to do another one. It wasn't so much the poking of the needle but the moving it around and having to flex the muscle while the needle was in there that was excruciating. I think the jaw and tongue were the worst. I am just hoping I get some kind of answers after that horrific ordeal.

Comment from: grouch, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 06

I have had electromyogram (EMG) twice and will never do it again. An EMG is one of the most sadistic medical tests I have yet experienced. It was like being stabbed with an electric cattle prod.

Comment from: Honest, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 12

Please read this before you go for your electromyogram visit. I read all the posts here and went in almost shaking, anticipating a lot of pain because my tolerance is low. I did the nerve test and it was no different than the TENS machine when you do physiotherapy, a mild electric current. I also did the EMG and it was the same or less than the pinch from an acupuncture treatment. There was no pain! My doctor was very good and talked with me throughout the test and explained all. I know we are all different and some might have existing conditions that renders this test somewhat painful but I have arthritis and am very sensitive and it went well for me. I truly hope this helps you.

Comment from: Traci3_1, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

I had an electromyogram and nerve conduction study done today. The needles going in was no problem, I didn't feel it. The small shocks in my arms and legs were reasonable, a little bit like being tasered. But it was the one he did on the side of my neck; it was like torture, like pulling finger nails out. He did one lot of 10 pulses where my body was practically jumping to the roof, followed by a 30 second break then another ten pulses which was like a jack hammer going off in my head, then we waited 1 minute and he said one final lot of ten, we got to three and I was screaming, tears running down my face and he stopped it saying if I wasn't going to cooperate we wouldn't get the right result. Oh my goodness, I cooperated as best I could. It is 11 hours post the test now and I still have a thumping headache, every tooth in my mouth is aching and I have tingling in the right hand and foot. That cannot be right!

Comment from: Donna, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 22

I had an electromyogram on my legs yesterday. The neurologist prescribed one 0.5 Xanax for anxiety. I did not take it. Shocks were quick, once in a while a foot jerked but not painful. It feels like a TENS machine. Regarding the needles, I did not feel at all, except when targeting those painful muscle areas. My neurologist kept me preoccupied with conversation about our love of cooking. Overall, a painful experience was highly overrated. No bruising, no swelling, no bleeding. And may I add I take Plavix and had no reaction whatsoever!

Comment from: mrchester, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 20

I had an electromyogram and needle test done yesterday and after reading other patients' experiences I was dreading it. Mine were carried out on my legs and arms and I can honestly say apart from a few strong twinges, it was painless. I did not even feel the needle going in. I feel a bit sore today and have slight bruising. I would not be worried if I had to have another one done. Everyone is different, I know, but it definitely was not painful

Comment from: Big Cap, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 18

I just had an electromyogram. My wife read up on it and did not tell me (she had fun with that). It was awful for me. I couldn't wait until it was over. I have a high tolerance for pain. The doctor said some people don't have any problems at all. My test was 45 minutes. Mine was for spinal stenosis L4 and L5. The most pain was at my ankles. They did the test several times in the same place (which hurt the most) in sets of three. I do have drop foot and maybe my test was more intense. Not to scare anyone, but at the end of the day I could not get surgery without it.

Comment from: MN MN, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 27

I had the electromyogram test last week and for me it was a piece of cake. The electrical currents were nothing more than a hard reflex test. I jumped, but nothing painful. The needles felt like a bad mosquito bite. It was done quickly and I was on my way home. Not a bad experience for me and hope it shows why I have such bad muscle weakness in my legs.

Comment from: fairwinds, (Patient) Published: January 22

My experience with electromyogram is very similar. The shocks administered were very strong and became unbearable, when I stopped the procedure. The operator actually tried to follow my leg around as it flew off of the table, and I was reminded of the reaction to a Taser gun (admittedly as seen in the movies). I puzzled over the experience, thinking that the operator had the setting too high, but these forum entries here show that the shocks although brief can be very severe. Finally, the leaflet given at the booking stage mentions a slight tingling, clearly a big understatement. My doctor when discussing the experience, was of the opinion that the leaflet has to understate the shocks in order to reassure the patients, many of whom would not turn up if they knew the true situation.

Comment from: Verklempft, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 02

On 10/21/2015 I had just put toddlers down for naps and lay down to nap also while singing. I looked over at the 17 month old which was down/left from my supine position and had severe spinning, nausea, and what I now know was eye twitching. I learned that day from a friend about benign positional vertigo which was resolved with exercises. I called his doctor and was facing a USD 1000 visit, so googled the subject and found several videos with various maneuvers. I was able to trigger the vertigo by lying on back with head hanging and turning to left. Turning to right I have no vertigo or eye twitch. I went ahead and did self Epley on left but failed to stay upright for the day. Today (day after self-treatment) I had a bout of vertigo while feeding kids lunch but cannot cause any spinning with positioning my head as before. I feel much better but kind of hungover, like tired and fuzzy. If symptoms last will absolutely see the dizziness doctor to rule out serious illness.

Comment from: Lil MIke, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 27

I have had two electromyograms (EMGs) after an accident that ruptured 2 discs. I am so glad for the few that did not have much pain. It was the worst pain I have ever felt. Sticking needle in was bad, moving it around was worse, and add electrical shock, I puked. The VA (Veteran's Affairs) wanted to do one on both legs and both arms, I said no, thank you. My neurologist told me that worse the nerve damage worse the pain! Like now if anything touches my thumb, pointer, and middle finger on left hand, it feels like a needle; just a mild touch like a piece of paper. I have been having this for 6 months now. After cervical fusion of C5/C6/C7 in 1996 the surgeon said that the ones above and below will go next because they are taking the extra stress. I am sure that is what has happened. But anyone that knows the VA can attest to the bureaucratic red tape. I finally had MRI 3 days ago, still no results. Good luck with you all.

Comment from: no human, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 21

I am allergic to all antibiotics. My mouth swells, I can't breathe, and I get hives and rash. I hope I am the only one out there with this trouble. I am allergic to everything outside. Most food, pets, soap, dust, and over the counter medicines.

Comment from: Mariya, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 14

I've had yeast and thrush infection since I was 11 years old (I'm 24 now). When I first went to the gynecologist she advised I was apparently young and most probably there were a lot of hormonal issues going on. She gave treatment for my bacterial vaginosis and said my skin was just too sensitive. After I finished my treatment after a month or so I was feeling ok, but in couple of weeks the infections came back. I went to my general physician (GP) this time, she also prescribed me pills, but nothing worked. As a child I was also constantly ill, so I had to take a lot of antibiotics, but nobody told me it will make my yeast and thrush infection worse! Five years ago my problem got even worse, there was no longer that little itch and a bit of burning sensation, it was so painful I couldn't walk! I then went to another professional and he prescribed me 3 month course of pills, which helped me a lot. I started to feel better, however, I was also having another problem; since I had my first period I was having very heavy and painful periods, heavy bleeding, and diarrhea. I went to the GP and he advised me to try and take the pill and that this might sort both of my problems. So, I went on the pill and the first month was actually ok, my period was normal, almost no pain. During the second month my thrush came back! I had a lot of hormonal issues, I had problems sleeping during the years, and that got worse. So, I stopped the pill and just refused to see doctors anymore. For a whole year I was with non-stop yeast and thrush infections, everything was itchy, burning, painful, red and swollen. The amount of disgusting discharge was unbelievable. I was always tired, but blamed the infection, stress and work. Apparently something was wrong with my immune system, so 2 months ago I decided to give it one last chance and went to the GP. She said we needed to check for diabetes or anemia as a lot of women have thrush if they have one of those conditions. I found I was in fact anemic, and I had huge deficit of iron. She prescribed me iron pills for 6 months ad said that this might also help my infection. I've been taking the iron pills for a month now and I have energy! I can run! No headache, no breathing issues, and yeast and thrush infection got better. I only have minor swelling and itching before and after period, but the rest of the time it's fine! Also, the GP prescribed me a very nice cream for the itch, Timodine! You might have a burning sensation the first few minutes, but then it removes the pain and itch. I hope I could help! Good luck!

Comment from: Ouch, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 03

I first had electromyogram on my legs about ten years ago. It was not pleasant, but bearable. Then I had the test on my legs a few years back where a new level of pain was introduced; the twisting needle. Today I had huge electrical shocks into my poor hands and arms. I thought, what is this, medicine or torture! I happen to have extra reactive reflexes. The first shock, I jumped. The second shock, third, fourth, etc., I jumped, as did my whole body. It was so shocking, physically and emotionally to receive a strong electrical shock. Then eventually a much lower frequency, but many, many more shocks. Then needles introduced into my muscles, and then, sadistically, twisted and twisted. One shock went down my arm. I was so stressed out at this point, ready to cry, and so weary of the pain. Then my doctor told me he was going to put a needle into a very sensitive area. Oh, great. He sprayed it with an ultra-cold spray to numb it up. He told me to say stop when I couldn't stand it. Believe me, I stood it because I wanted the numbing relief. Then the stress and pain got to me and I felt nauseated and reported it. The doctor looked a bit worried and stopped the test. Jeez, after all that, ok, I'm sorry, but after all that torture. It's really not this bad for most people, just for me. So, it may not be bad for you. And my first two tests were not as bad.

Comment from: Sharmistha Gupta, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 01

Today I was suggested NCV (nerve conduction velocity) and EMG (electromyogram) test as I have numbness in my legs when I am standing. The electric shots were hurting as electric waves were running in my nerves. I was shaking after the test, probably my blood pressure went a bit low. After two hours when I settled I was taken through ESG (electrosomatography) and thin needles were pricked all over my leg and lower back which was very painful as I had to stretch my muscles and needle pain was hurting my muscles. Overall pain experience was 9 out of 10.

Comment from: Russ B., 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 21

I fell 6 ft. and dislocated my shoulder. After 7 weeks I am still having intense pain. My doctor sent me to have an electromyogram (EMG). I later told my wife that instead of waterboarding terrorists they should torture them with EMGs. It was the worst medical procedure I've ever endured. I was shocked at least 30 times and yelled out in pain several times. When he said he was done with that I was so relieved until he pulled out the needle and poked me at least 20 times starting in the palm of my hand, up my arm, chest, back, neck left and right shoulder. Seriously bad stuff.

Comment from: Rita, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I had the EMG test done about 2 months ago. I gave birth 9 times and never had pain like this test. I was not told anything about it beforehand. But as the test went on in my leg, the shocks got worse. I could tolerate it until he went to my spine. It was as if someone stuck a knife in my back. I never had back trouble, but now have a backache all the time. They didn't find out why my foot goes numb! I would never ever get another EMG. I almost wish I could sue someone for the misery I now have. It's much worse than a numb foot!

Comment from: MARIE, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

I recently had an electromyogram done. And I have to agree it is very painful. It was painful enough to make me cry. The doctor even gave me a shot for pain. All this pain to tell me I have a lot of nerve damage and a pinched nerve that stemmed from by back surgery in January. Get this, my neurosurgeon can't find where the pinched nerve is. So I have been in real bad pain since then.

Comment from: Patti, Female (Patient) Published: March 18

I had electromyogram done today, 3/14/15, without knowing what to expect. After the 3rd surge of electricity, I made her stop the test. The pain was horrific and felt like I was being Tasered. The electrical current was so strong, I felt like I was going to be jolted right off the table, like when they are using a cardiac defibrillator. I asked her to turn down the voltage to a more tolerable level and she said she couldn't, so I made her stop. I certainly wouldn't do this test again.

Comment from: fgc, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 10

I have had three electromyograms and nerve conduction studies and read many of the horror stories online but honestly I can't understand how the experience I had could be even possibly the same test as other people's experiences. It was really nothing at all. I wouldn't hesitate at all to have one tomorrow morning or have any anxiety about it. I wonder if it makes a difference that all of mine were administered by neurologists. It isn't the best way to spend time and it is fairly painful and intense but the shocks to me were so brief and only a second or two per one. By the time my brain went ouch, the shock was over. Also at any point they can stop which obviously isn't great because you want conclusive test results but do not fear that you cannot bow out or finish the test early if the pain is too unbearable for you.

Comment from: painter33, Male (Patient) Published: February 17

I had a nerve conductivity test on both legs prior to a lumbar spine fusion and actually felt very little (I had no numbness before or after the test). I was expecting full, break-the-skin needles to be placed at various locations, but the small electrical charges were inconsequential. This electromyogram test was so benign that I'd do it at the drop of a hat. Electronic muscle stimulation, used in physical therapy, operates much the same way, only fires muscle into action with greater electrical force. Maybe it might help to think when a nerve is stimulated in one place, it can be felt in another place; that's interesting. If you're briefly occupied with scientific curiosity, you might be less likely to focus on the test as it is occurring.

Comment from: VetinPain, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 17

I went for an electromyogram test in the arm, shoulder and neck. I was told to lie on the table, no explanation what was about to happen. Nothing. She asked me a few questions then started drawing on my wrist. Then I felt a little pain then more, then I almost jumped off the table. I explained to her that it hurt really badly and asked how many times she was going to do this to me. She said most people don't feel anything! She worked up my arm and it was very painful. I told her I had problems with needles and she told me next would be just a little acupressure and it wouldn't hurt at all. She stuck the needle into my bicep I screamed out and she told me to bend my arm but my muscle was frozen. She yelled relax! She withdrew the needle and the pain was still going on and I couldn't bend my arm and I was bleeding. She said loudly, you are done! As the pain was subsiding I asked her what that was. She said she couldn't finish the test. I asked her what was the matter with me and she said I was hyper pain sensitive.

Comment from: Bucky, Male (Patient) Published: January 09

I had an EMG (electromyogram) today January 7, 2015. I worried myself sick about it but was a non-event. On a scale of 1 to 10 with a 10 being pure torture, it was a 1. The test was only in my arms but I can't imagine that it would be much different in my lower body.

Comment from: diane880, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 02

I had an electromyogram (EMG) study last month on one arm and one leg. After reading about the experiences of others on this board, I was extremely nervous. I'm happy to say that my experience wasn't bad at all. The needle prick itself did not hurt at all, however, when the needle went into the muscle, it felt like a mild muscle cramp. Yes, I could feel it 'swirl around the nerve', but it truly wasn't that painful (hard to believe, but true!). I had many, many sites that needed to be tested, and there were only a couple that I could say were painful - but also very tolerable. I'm sure different people have varying experiences, and I feel badly for the people who had horrible ones, but I also feel fortunate that mine wasn't so bad.

Comment from: Westside, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 30

I had an electromyogram (EMG) of my arm this morning. I was pretty nervous after reading personal experiences on different sites. It went better than I expected. Electrical shocks were annoying, but the technician was great and we chatted through the entire procedure. The needle portion was a little more unpleasant, but again I was able to carry on a conversation with only a few pauses as we got down closer to the smaller muscles near the hand. I popped Tylenol as soon as the procedure was over and continued throughout the day because I could feel it starting to get sore. The soreness was distracting, but not unbearable.

Comment from: JodyH1122, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 30

I had an electromyogram (EMG) done a few days ago due to specialists not being able to figure out what is wrong with my shins. They may have misdiagnosed me months ago when they said it was shin splints and this was the only test left I can do. Let me tell you, they did not inform me of the amount of pain I would be in. I was told I could not take any pain medication beforehand due to it possibly causing wrong readings on the test. The electrodes part nearly had me crying, the needles going into my muscles did make me cry. There is one very large dark bruise where one was inserted and my left leg hurts severely when moved in a certain position. I am not happy with the neurologist or the orthopedic specialist right now!

Comment from: Ladyjenie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 14

Since I have Medicare, my doctor's office had to do my electromyogram (EMG) on two different days so I did arms on day 1 and legs on day 2. I do not have results yet but I feel I have some nerve damage in both areas as neither was significantly painful. The arms were less painful than legs and what hurt most was the tender area behind the knees, I got 2 to 3 little jolts but nothing to make me yell or cry. No creams can be used on the area being tested.

Comment from: Rodger, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 24

I had an electromyogram (EMG) done this morning with hardly any pain at all. I have some pain in my lower legs and my primary care physician (PCP) wanted my nerves checked. The doctor (not technologist) applied some pads and sent some electrical pulses through. Some of the stronger ones made me jump a little; the others were very mild. Then he used some needles, minor pricks; nothing terrible at all.

Comment from: Inpain, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 24

I just returned home from the nerve test. The electromyogram was awful despite the nurse saying it won't hurt! The high intensity shocks shook my whole leg and hurt to the point of tears (I live with pain daily so am used to pain). I will never do it again.

Comment from: tomsthumb, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 18

I had an electromyogram (EMG) of my legs and buttocks. This is what my surgeon wanted before he performs a second back surgery on me. The test went off without a hitch. A little painful here and there but acceptable. The problem I ran into was the next day, severe joint pain ankles, knees, elbows, wrist, and fingers. Hope this goes away soon; unbearable pain.

Comment from: EMGs hurt, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

Electromyograms (EMGs) are painful. I think that they must be more painful if you actually have something legitimately wrong with your nerves. The electrical impulses were rather unpleasant and even painful at some points, but the needle part was horrific. The needle itself was fine. I felt it going in and that didn't bother me, but the movement of the needle against the nerves was nearly unbearable. I had tears rolling down my face and was biting the blanket to help. The linens were soaked by the time I got up. I was in so much pain I was sweating profusely. They did my right leg and right arm. The arm was much worse than the leg; that is where I've been having my problem. I'm a person who handles pain pretty average. I had a breast augmentation (implants under the muscle), and took a total of 4 pain pills through my entire recovery process. I only add that to let you know, I'm really not a huge wuss. This one hurts! And everyone is right, plan on pain for several days after the procedure.

Comment from: ewan72403, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 15

I had an electromyogram of my leg. The electrode part was nothing, just felt like taps or whacks. The needles going in did hurt a bit naturally but not as bad as say having skin tags frozen off. I wouldn't have this for a lark but it was not terrible.

Comment from: Ewan72403, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I had an EMG (electromyogram) and NCV (nerve conduction velocity test) this morning to check for causes of the severe pain I have been having in my knee. As far as I was concerned, the electrode part was nothing. All I felt was taps and whacks. Nothing I would call painful. The big ones are more startling. They feel like a punch in a way. The needle thing was somewhat painful. After all, they are sticking needles into muscles you are then asked to use. But I would not call it terrible by any stretch. And it was over in about 10 minutes, tops.

Comment from: Annamarie, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 19

I had an electromyogram (EMG) yesterday. The technician was great, a lovely lady with a very soothing voice. She explained everything she was doing and was gentle. Yes, I felt the successive electric shocks, but they were quite bearable. I would not dissuade anyone who requires this diagnostic tool. It isn't bad at all! Be polite and ask the technician to explain it as s/he is doing it. And keep a good, positive attitude!

Comment from: SCB778049, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 25

I suffer from severe leg cramping, from my hips to my toes and it usually lasts two hours. I am currently having testing, the electromyogram (EMG) being one of them. I had the EMG today on my legs and back. It did not hurt at all, it was a piece of cake. This site made me very apprehensive before I had the test done, so much so that I almost cancelled the test the day before. The severe leg cramping I have is so much more painful. Don't let this site scare you. Most of the people who had positive EMGs probably did not post.

Comment from: evasher6, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 16

When I went for my nerve conductor/electromyogram (EMG) tests. Nerve conductor was done by tech- that went okay but, I didn't like how the doctor did my EMG tests. On most I read, the patient may be asked to contract muscles. Well, the doctor forced my foot, whereas the needle she inserted, because of the added pain, went deeper in my leg, and I had so much pain. I don't think she was supposed to force me to exert my muscles, afterwards I was suffering for quite some time. She kept asking me if I want to quit, several times; I told her no, I wanted to finish. I feel she was trying to make tests turn out better, plan for someone else to do over.

Comment from: jeffreypaul, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 14

I had both electromyogram (EMG) and nerve condition study (NCS) tests done, felt like a warm massage. I didn't mind the test at all, actually I didn't feel most of it. It's strange to me how so many people felt extreme pain from the tests. It makes me think either my nerves are severely damaged or the test just didn't affect me.

Comment from: Tiffany L, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 14

I had this electromyogram test done this morning for a bulging disc and it was nauseatingly painful. I have a high pain tolerance and I was in tears. The shocks were tolerable, but to have 9 in a row done at the highest intensity on several different spots hurt. And to have needles stuck into my leg from hip to ankle, front and back was one of the worst pains I have ever felt. I went to work after, and had to leave because I could barely walk. The bad thing, or good thing is that everything was normal. More tests now!

Comment from: JJ, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 19

I just had an electromyogram (EMG) test today (6/17/14) and believe me it is nothing to fear! I had my left arm/shoulder and neck pricked with these needles and I have had mosquito bites that were worse! Very routine and my doctor was very experienced in doing these tests. Can't explain the previous responses from those people. Don't worry about anything!

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.