What Are NCS and EMG Tests in Neuropathy?


Quick Answer

A nerve conduction study checks how well and how fast nerves conduct signals between the spinal cord and the muscles, explains WebMD. Electromyography measures the electrical activity of a muscle at rest and during contraction.

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Full Answer

These tests are often done together to check for the different causes of neuropathy, according to eMedicineHealth. During an NCS a shock-emitting electrode is placed over a nerve and a recording electrode is placed over the muscle that the nerve supplies. The first electrode sends small electrical impulses to the nerve. These impulses travel to the muscle and the second electrode records conduction and speed. During the procedure patients feel the electrical impulses and sometimes experience anxiety.

Electromyography involves the insertion of a needle through the skin and into the muscle, notes WebMD. The needle has an electrode that reads and records electrical activity. The procedure often causes sharp and brief pain during the needle insertion. Patients frequently experience muscle soreness and tingling for about two days after the procedure.

Neuropathy is any condition that affects nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body, notes Cleveland Clinic. Approximately 25 to 30 percent of Americans are affected by neuropathy and 60 to 70 percent of diabetics develop neuropathy over the course of the disease.

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