EMG Testing

Preparing for your test:


  • • Bathe as you normally would. (Clean skin will help maximize the quality of the test)
  • • Eat normally so you are not hungry. (These tests do not require fasting)
  • • Arrive 15-20 minutes prior to your appointment time. (Allow more time in extreme temperatures-Your body will have to adjust to “room temperature” before beginning the test)
  • • Dress appropriately. Wear or bring a pair of loose fitting shorts and a short sleeve shirt. (You can wear a gown)


  • • Do not apply any lotions or gels to skin.
  • • Do not use any stimulant drugs. (Coffee, tea, sodas, etc.)
  • • Do not use any sedating drugs. (Muscle relaxers, pain medicine, cigarettes, etc.)

What to expect:

During the NCS test:

Small recording electrodes will be places on the surface of your skin over target muscles. The examiner will stimulate specific nerves along the arms and/or legs. The patient usually feels a mild to moderate “thump” sensation. Most patients are able to tolerate this very well. Each stimulation will be recorded by the electrodes and sent to a computer. The recordings will be analyzed for the speed and strength of the signal.

During the EMG test:

A very small recording probe is inserted just beneath the skin into the muscle. This recording probe records electrical information from the muscle. The patient is asked to move the arm or leg a certain way to activate the muscle. This portion of the test can cause minimal muscle soreness that usually goes away in about a day.


What is a “Nerve Test”?

A “Nerve Test”, which is an NCS (Nerve Conduction Study and an EMG (Electromyography) are highly specific neurological tests designed to evaluate the nerves throughout the body to make certain they are functioning properly. The results of these tests are extremely valuable in assisting the providers in determining exactly what is causing your problem, and will help to establish a treatment program to specifically help your problem.
Your nerve test is performed conveniently right in the comfort of our office.

Who needs a nerve test?

A nerve test is usually ordered when a patient is suffering from any of the following symptoms (commonly in the arms and/or legs): pain, numbness, pins and needles, tingling, weakness, spasms, or any combination of these.  

Does my insurance pay for this test?

Yes, typically your insurance will participate in payment because it is a diagnostic test. Your normal co-pays, co-insurance, or deductibles will apply.

How long does each test take?

A typical thorough exam usually takes 20-30 minutes

Is this test painful?

Generally no. There may be some temporary discomfort which is typically gone by the end of the nerve test. Some experience muscle soreness with the EMG that usually lasts a day or two. Most patients are able to tolerate this procedure well.  

Why do I need this test?

A nerve test can give your doctor a lot of very useful information about the function of the nerves to accompany clinical exam and diagnostic images (x-ray, MRI, etc.), which tells us what something looks like.