Does an EMG Test Hurt, and How Long Is the Procedure?

The needle electrodes used during an EMG may cause short-term discomfort or pain, and the patient may feel a twinge or spasm as the electric current is transmitted, according to Mayo Clinic. The procedure generally lasts 30 to 60 minutes, as stated by WebMD

Patients who are concerned about pain or discomfort during the procedure should speak with the neurologist about taking a small break during the EMG, as recommended by Mayo Clinic. After the procedure, patients may experience minor bruising where the electrodes were placed, but this normally resolves within several days. They may also experience some soreness and tingling in the muscles for up to two days following the procedure, adds WebMD. If pain worsens or the needle sites become swollen, tender or filled with pus, the patient should contact a doctor immediately.

Patients are normally asked to change into a hospital gown before lying on the examination table where the neurologist performs the EMG, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Electrodes are placed on different parts of the skin depending on where the patient is experiencing symptoms, and the neurologist then measures the degree of electrical activity that appears both while the muscle is at rest and when it is slightly contracted. The patient may need to change positions during the procedure.