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Why is an EMG test done?

An EMG is often performed when patients have unexplained muscle weakness. The EMG helps to distinguish between muscle conditions in which the problem begins in the muscle and muscle weakness due to nerve disorders. The EMG can also be used to detect true weakness, as opposed to weakness from reduced use because of pain or lack of motivation. EMGs can also be used to isolate the level of nerve irritation or injury.

Return to Electromyogram (EMG)

See what others are saying

Comment from: [email protected], 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 30

I thought the first part of electromyogram (Tasering, cattle prodding, etc.) was extremely painful. It shook my whole body sometimes. It really messed up my nerves (head). I cried. I thought I would never do that again, but I need another one to see what is causing my pain this time. I'll be ready. I am not very tolerant to pain. It is probably one of the worst things I have had done to me, and I have had a lot done to me. The doctor inserting the needle was not very painful at all. I could feel it, but it is not like getting a shot or blood taken. He was very gentle. Too bad they have to do the 'torture treatment' first. It was awful. It did not diagnose my condition and we never got down to the cause, except thinking it was fibromyalgia. He did an MRI and I have a lot of issues with my back. It might be my sciatic nerve. I don't know if he checked for that or not, since my feet were bothering me more then and now it is my hip. So we do another; I hope it tells us what is causing the pain.

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Comment from: Teresa, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 02

I had an electromyogram (EMG) done in my legs (I have a high tolerance for pain but the procedure made me want to jump off the table). I have four slipped discs in my lower lumbar and was having pain in my legs and burning sensations in my foot. The EMG identified a pinched nerve.

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Comment from: JulieAnnJewelry, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I had an electromyogram (EMG) yesterday. I didn't mind the test at all. The needle part was very tolerable and the electrical shocks were nothing to be afraid of! If you are having this test, don't stress, relax, and it will be fine. It was a piece of cake! Of course, my concern were the results. I have benign fasciculation syndrome. My muscles jump in my body causing cramps, pain, numbness etc. I never heard of this condition. It is not serious and there is no cure. It can go into remission. It is annoying, but a better diagnosis than so many dreaded diseases. It can be brought on by anxiety or stress. The doctor did put me on magnesium to see if that would help. If you develop this muscle twitching, don't assume the worst, it could be this condition that I have, annoying, but not life threatening. I did not have muscle weakness as a symptom.

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