EMG – Electromyogram

The human body has over 600 voluntary muscles controlled by the brain. When an effort is required, the brain uses the nerves to send an electric signal for the muscles to contract. Our daily actions are performed through these remarkable mechanics.

An EMG is a test used to diagnose muscles and nerve related problems, for example, a pinched nerve in the wrist, neck or lower back. An electromyogram measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction; while nerve conduction studies measure how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals.

The EMG exam is ordered to patients presenting nerves and muscles related symptoms, such as:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness

Please note: EMG exam will not be administered to people wearing a pacemaker.

How to access our services?

You need a physician’s referral to get an appointment and pass this exam.

About The Program

What to bring

  • Valid Health Card
  • List of all your medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and herbal medicines

Preparation for the exam

  • Eat normally and take your usual medication.
  • Please ensure that the skin area to be tested is clean, dry and free of any oils or creams.
  • Wear a short sleeve shirt if your symptoms are in your arms or hands.
  • If your symptoms are in your legs, bring a pair of shorts or loose fitting pants.

When you arrive

  • Please register at the admission desk 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
  • After registration, a clerk will give you directions to the room where your test will be done.

How the exam is performed

  • The test consists of two parts, done during two different appointments. The first part is a nerve conduction study done by a technician. The second part is a consultation with the neurologist.
  • For the nerve conduction study, the technician applies electrodes on your skin near the nerve to be studied, then sends brief and low intensity electrical pulses to the nerve. The electrodes collect and transmit data to a computer.
  • The nerve conduction study takes from 30 to 40 minutes.
  • The consultation with the neurologist may include an EMG needle examination.
  • In the needle examination, the neurologist gently inserts an electrode similar to an acupuncture needle into the muscle. The electrode records the muscle’s electrical activity and transmits the information to a computer. This may be done to study a number of muscles, with a number of needle insertions.
  • The needle examination may take from 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Both tests are painless, but they may cause discomfort. Most patients tolerate them well. Your usual daily activities will not be affected after the exam.

Exam results

  • The test results will be sent to the referring physician within 10 to 15 working days.
  • You may ask the neurologist for a written preliminary report. 

The team

  • Neurologists
  • EMG technicians