Conditions and Treatments

EMG / NCV for the Diagnosis of Nerve Injury

Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) testing are very useful in diagnosing problems such as nerve injury at the spine (e.g. radiculopathy), entrapped and injured nerves in the arms or legs (e.g. carpal tunnel or tarsal tunnel syndromes), peripheral neuropathy (e.g. diabetic peripheral neuropathy) or other nerve or muscle disorders. The study is most often carried out by a physiatrist or neurologist. Dr. Scott Bainbridge is board certified (ABEM), with over twenty years of experience, in EMG/NCV testing.

The EMG/NCV test is most often carried out as part of a broader consultation, which may include a complete history and physical examination or possibly also a diagnostic ultrasound (US) evaluation, when indicated. A more focused study can be requested, as well. The testing usually takes about an hour; longer if complex consultation or diagnostic US are required. The test involves two parts: 1) The stimulation of nerves with small electrical “shocks” to determine the size and speed of the nerve conduction signals; and 2) The use of a very thin needle, placed into muscles, to determine the electrical activity of the muscle to determine if there has been any damage to the nerve that connects to that muscle.  Interpretation of the patterns of abnormalities is then carried out to make a specific diagnosis or list of possible diagnoses (there can be multiple possible causes of peripheral neuropathy). A specific, diagnosis directed, treatment plan can then be offered.

See also: Diagnosis and Treatment of Neck or Arm Pain and/or Tingling.

Referrals for consultation and EMG can be made by calling Denver Back Pain Specialists at 303-327-5511 or faxing our referral form (Referral to Dr. Bainbridge / Dr. Trainor – Denver Back Pain Specialists) to 303-327-5512. New patient forms can be found on our Forms and Facts page. We appreciate your confidence and strive to deliver the best care possible (Mission and Services of DBPS).

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