Dr. Wallach uses electrodiagnostic studies, namely electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (aka nerve testing), to address how well a patient’s muscles and nerves are functioning. These studies can help determine the cause of back or neck pain, numbness/tingling and strength loss. Commonly diagnosed conditions include “pinched nerves” (radiculopathies), peripheral nerve injuries and muscle disease.
Electrodiagnostic studies can help narrow down the possible causes of back/body pain and muscle weakness and are useful when the reason for pain or tingling or weakness is not clear. They can also be used to determine the severity of a nerve injury or how badly a nerve is being pinched in the neck or back. Occasionally other conditions can mimic a pinched nerve in the back or neck.
A nerve conduction study involves placing sensors over nerves in the arms and legs and then stimulating those nerves with small electric sensations. Most patients report that these studies are uncomfortable but not necessarily painful. How fast or slow the conduction occurs determines whether the nerves are functioning properly.
EMG is performed by placing small needles in the muscles of the arm, leg or back to directly evaluate the electrical activity caused by a muscle contraction. Most patients state that the needles feel like a small cramp or a splinter in the muscle. EMG evaluates how well muscles are functioning and can determine if muscles are receiving the proper signal from nerves.