These studies measure and record electrical activity from the muscles and nerves. They are most often used to assess symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness.
Part of the study may involve small needles that are inserted into the muscle. Mild electrical shocks are given to stimulate the nerve. You may experience some discomfort during the tests, but they generally are not painful. These tests take less than one hour.
To prepare for an EMG, please do the following:
- Bath or shower on the day of the test; wash arms and legs well to remove body oils
- Don’t use lotion, bath oils or creams
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
- Eat your normal meals (but you may wish to avoid tobacco or caffeine for a few hours prior to your test)
- Bring a list of medications you are taking, especially any blood thinners
- Tell the health care provider if you:
- bruise easily
- have hemophilia
- have a pacemaker
- have a skin infection
You may take over-the-counter pain medication if you wish, as they do not affect test results.