Electromyography (EMG) is an electrodiagnostic medicine technique which measures electrical activity from muscle response to help detect any neuromuscular abnormalities. During the procedure, small needles called electrodes, are inserted through the skin into the muscle. An oscilloscope will then display electrical activity picked up by the electrodes in the form of waves, and an audio-amplifier will generate the activity’s sound.

Our physiatrist in Suffolk County may tell you to contract the muscle once the electrode has been inserted. This creates action potential (size and shape of the wave) on the oscilloscope which provides information about the muscle’s responsiveness to nerve stimulation. The more forceful the muscle contraction, the more muscle fibers are activated which produces action potential.

Why perform an EMG?

An EMG test may be performed if you are experiencing signs or symptoms indicating a nerve or muscle disorder. These symptoms may include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle pain or cramping
  • Limb pain
  • Paralysis
  • Involuntary muscle twitching (tics)

When individuals experience unexplained muscle weakness, this test helps to distinguish the difference between muscle conditions where the problem begins in the muscle itself; or nerve disorders as a result of muscle weakness. It also aids in detecting true weakness, from weakness due to reduced-muscle use, whether this may be because of pain or simply lack of motivation.

What do my EMG results mean?

Electrical activity present in the resting muscle may mean:

  • A muscle disorder
  • Injury-caused inflammation
  • A disorder affecting nerves connected to the muscle

Abnormal electrical activity during the muscle contraction may be the result of:

  • A herniated disc
  • Nerve disorder such as ALS or carpal tunnel

Our physiatrist in Suffolk County is very thorough and will make sure to explain the test results fully so all questions are answered for the patient.

At Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation of Long Island, we can perform EMG testing for our patients. If you have any questions concerning the test, please contact our physiatrist in Suffolk County today for more information.