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What is electrodiagnostic testing?
Electrodiagnostic testing uses electricity to diagnose conditions. It is useful when looking for nerve damage or muscle problems.
Your body has two kinds of nerves. Motor nerves carry commands from your mind to your muscles, and sensory nerves carry feelings from your fingers and toes to your mind. We usually test both kinds of nerves. We sometimes test both sides of your body to compare one side to the other.
The test has two parts:
- Electromyography – Every muscle needs a nerve to stay healthy. If there is trouble with a nerve, there will be problems in the muscle. By inserting a special pin into a muscle in your arm or leg, we can determine the condition of your nerves.
- Nerve conduction study – By supplying a small electric current to your nerves, we can tell how well your nerves are carrying electricity. This test is not very uncomfortable, and it has no side effects. We use this test to check for pinched nerves at the wrist, elbow, neck or back.
What should I do before and during the testing?
Before the test, gently scrub off any dry skin from the area that will be studied. Be careful not to overdo it. Do not use oils or creams on your arms or legs before your test.
Your job during the electrodiagnostic test is to relax. The more relaxed you are, the more comfortable you will be, and the more accurate the results will be.