Electrodiagnostic What? — Electrodiagnostic Medicine Explained

According to the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine is the “medical subspecialty that applies neurophysiologic techniques to diagnose, evaluate, and treat patients with impairments of the neurologic, neuromuscular, and/or muscular systems.”

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. There are two forms of electrodiagnostic medicine that are offered as one of our many treatment options here at Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine, electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS). These tests are done if you are experiencing leg pain or numbness. These tests find out how your nerves are being affected and how well your spinal nerves and nerves in your arms and legs are working.

An electromyogram or EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction. An EMG is done to find diseases that damage muscle tissue, nerves, or the junctions between nerves and muscles. It is also done to find the cause of weakness, paralysis, or muscle twitching. During the test, one or more small needles are inserted through the skin into the muscle. The electrical activity picked up by the electrodes (needles) is then displayed on monitor. An audio amplifier is also used so the activity can be heard. After an electrode has been inserted, you may be asked to contract the muscle (i.e.; bending your leg), this will all generate a wave on the monitor that measures the ability of the muscle to respond when a nerve is stimulated.

Another related procedure is a nerve conduction study or NCS. A NCS is a measurement of the amount and speed of conduction of an electrical impulse through a nerve. The NCS is done to find damage to the peripheral nervous systems, which includes all the nerves that lead away from the brain and spinal cord and the smaller nerves that branch out from them.

If you are experiencing any leg pain, numbness and tingling, or discomfort, contact us for an appointment. Our staff is waiting to answer any questions you may have about electrodiagnostic medicine or any of our other treatment options.