Is Electromyography (EMG) Painful?

Electromyography (EMG) is a test that measures and graphs the electrical activity in your muscles as they move. Muscles contract when nerve cells (called motor neurons) send a small electrical impulse into them. An EMG measures these impulses through a needle, which acts as an electrode, injected into the muscle tissue. The doctor can then look for abnormalities, such as pinched nerves, nerve damage, herniated discs, ALS and other conditions.

“Is it painful?”

This is one of the most common questions that patients ask when they’re preparing to undergo an electromyography. In a word, yes, you can expect some discomfort. However, it is not a procedure to be dreaded. If you’re facing this procedure, let’s remove some of the apprehension by explaining what happens.

Discomfort during the procedure

While there is little or no sensation involved with the detecting of electrical activity, the insertion of the needle itself into the muscle may cause discomfort — but generally not more so than if you were receiving a shot or giving blood. The neurologist only performs one insertion at a time, and you receive advance warning and guidance for minimizing the discomfort while it’s happening. Depending on the muscle and extent of testing, the neurologist may need to perform several insertions over a period of time.

Managing the discomfort

During the procedure, it’s important to communicate with the doctor if the pain becomes more intense or feels overwhelming. He/she may give you instructions to relax or contract certain muscles, not only to measure the electrical activity, but also to help minimize the pain. If you need to take a break, just ask.

Discomfort after the procedure

After the EMG is complete, you may experience some muscle soreness at the insertion point(s). This is normal and generally lasts 1-2 days. While electromyography can be uncomfortable, the data received from the test can be very useful to the doctor in helping you find a long-term solution to the pain or condition that predicated the test.

For more information on Electromyography (EMG) and how they are performed, call Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center today at (404) 256-2633.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Can My Spinal Fractures Heal on Their Own with Rest?

If you have a spinal fracture, treatment depends on the type and severity of the break, as well as whether other structures are involved. Can fractures heal on their own with just rest? Keep reading to learn the answer.

5 Risk Factors for a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc may produce no symptoms or pain and weakness so severe they’re disabling. Knowing your risk factors may help you prevent a disc from herniating in the first place.

Radiculopathy Types and What to Expect

Radiculopathy is pain that travels down nerve paths into the extremities. Keep reading to learn about the different types, what you can expect, and how you can find relief.

Spinal Stenosis: 3 Effective Treatments

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can cause radiating pain by compressing spinal nerve roots. Keep reading to learn about three effective treatments to relieve your distress.

Can Aging Cause Sciatica?

Sciatica is a common condition where the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or inflamed, causing pain, weakness, and numbness along its path. Can it be caused by aging? Read on to find out.

Can I Tell if I Have a Brain Tumor?

You’re not a doctor, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know the warning signs of a brain tumor. Early detection can lead to more effective treatment. Get all the facts here.