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At UT Southwestern Medical Center, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians might prescribe electrodiagnostic testing for people who have symptoms of a possible nerve or muscle disorder. These symptoms include numbness, weakness, pain, or muscle cramping.
Our team is committed to helping patients achieve the highest possible level of physical, functional, and cognitive independence after an injury or illness, and we are a major referral center for patients requiring rehabilitative care.
Measuring Electrical Activity in the Body
Electrodiagnostic examinations measure electrical activity generated by muscles and nerves.
Electrodiagnostic testing usually consists of two parts: nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG).
- In nerve conduction studies, we apply small electrical shocks to the nerve and record the signal the nerve produces. This can show how well the body’s electrical signals are traveling along a nerve.
- In electromyography, a thin needle is inserted into several muscles and the electrical activity of the muscles is recorded.
Conditions We Treat
Electrodiagnostic testing can help diagnose the following conditions:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cervical radiculopathy
- Lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica)
- Foot drop
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
Electrodiagnostic Testing: What to Expect
Most electrodiagnostic testing is painless and quick. Patients having an electromyographic (EMG) test might feel only brief and mild discomfort as the physician inserts the tiny needle into various muscles. The needles are used only to record electrical activity in the muscles and not to deliver any treatment.
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