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What is an EMG?

During an EMG, your provider will insert thin needles through the skin and into the muscles. When you move your muscles as directed, electrodes on the end of the needles measure the resulting activity. After an electrode is inserted, you may be asked to contract the muscle by lifting or bending your leg. The size and shape of the wave on the screen provide information about the muscle's ability to respond when the nerves are stimulated. The EMG usually includes two parts:

Nerve conduction Studies (NCS)

Dr. Montero-Cruz places small discs on the skin to record nerve function when mild electrical stimulation is applied over the skin, which tests the nerves’ ability to carry the electrical impulse to the recording discs. Just as a damaged cable prevents electricity from running through it and powering attached devices, damaged nerves prevent electrical signals from running through and being recorded by the discs attached to your skin.

Needle electrode examination (NEE)

Dr. Montero-Cruz places a tiny needle directly into your muscles to test their function and health. During this part of the EMG, no electrical stimulation is delivered, and nothing is injected through the needle tip. The needle is similar to a microphone attached to a computer, allowing Dr. Montero-Cruz to hear and see what your muscle does at rest and with movement.

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Why do I need an EMG?

You may need an EMG if you have symptoms indicating a nerve or muscle disorder, such as:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Cramping
  • Some types of limb pain

EMG results are essential for diagnosing or ruling out different conditions, such as:

  • Muscle disorders, including muscular dystrophy and polymyositis
  • Diseases of the connection between the nerve and the muscle, such as myasthenia gravis
  • Nerve disorders outside the spinal cord or peripheral nerves, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other peripheral neuropathies
  • Disorders affecting the motor neurons in the brain or spinal cord, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or polio
  • Disorders affecting the nerve root, including a herniated disk in the spine

Candidates for EMG

You may be a good candidate for electromyography if you have the previously discussed symptoms that could indicate a nerve or muscle disorder. These symptoms include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Pain
  • Abnormal sensations such as tingling

The benefits of an EMG

When EMG tests are paired with nerve conduction, it helps us determine whether your symptoms are caused by a muscle disorder or a nerve problem. Because EMG results help diagnose a wide range of conditions, diseases, and injuries affecting the nerves and muscles, the most significant benefit is peace of mind associated with a correct diagnosis. Their results allow us to curate comprehensive treatment plans to help you recover; with nerve pain relief, you benefit from an overall better quality of life.

What can I expect?

Before the procedure, your neurologist or technician places surface electrodes on your skin, depending on where you're experiencing symptoms. Alternatively, Dr. Montero-Cruz may insert needle electrodes at those sites instead of surface electrodes.

During the procedure, the surface electrodes transmit a tiny electrical current that may feel like a twinge or spasm. While the needle electrode may cause discomfort or pain, it usually subsides after the needle is removed.

Dr. Montero-Cruz will determine whether there is any spontaneous electrical activity when the muscle is at rest, which isn’t present in healthy muscle tissue, and the degree of action when you slightly contract the muscle. She will instruct you on when to rest and contract specific muscles and may ask you to change positions during the test.

After the procedure, you may experience minor bruising when the needle electrode is inserted into your muscle. However, this bruising is temporary and should disappear within a few days.

Dr. Montero-Cruz will interpret your exam results and prepare a report, which she will discuss with you during your follow-up appointment.

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Why choose Dr. Montero-Cruz?

Physiatrist Dr. Montero-Cruz is a trusted authority in non-surgical musculoskeletal treatment. She goes the extra mile to ensure maximum pain relief for her patients because she is passionate about restoring their comfort, quality of life, and well-being.

Dr. Montero-Cruz specializes in the non-surgical treatment of neck and low back pain and other musculoskeletal complaints such as shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee pain. She is exceptionally skilled at performing EMGs to diagnose disorders such as cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, peripheral neuropathy, and nerve entrapments at the carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel, or tarsal tunnel.

As a Physiatrist, Dr. Montero-Cruz understands how limiting pain can be to a person. She strives to deliver the best patient care possible to help her patients regain normal function and return to the things they love doing most. You should choose Dr. Montero-Cruz as your EMG provider for these reasons.

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If you are suffering from back or neck pain, it is crucial for you to receive a professional diagnosis as soon as possible. Dr. Rovner is one of the best spine surgeons in NJ who has the experience and expertise necessary to help patients actualize successful outcomes with orthopedic spine surgery.

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