Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic procedure that is performed for assessing the health of muscles and nerves (motor neurons) associated with them. EMG records and evaluated the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. Motor neurons transmit electrical signals that lead to muscle contraction. An EMG converts these electrical signals into graphs, sounds or numerical values which are interpreted by a specialist.
An EMG is performed using an electromyograph, an instrument that records the electrical activity in the form of an electromyogram. An EMG uses electrodes to record the electrical activity in the muscles.
Why is Electromyography done?
You may be advised to undergo an EMG if you have signs or symptoms like:
- Numbness or decreased sensation
- Tingling, radiating pain or burning
- Muscle weakness or spasms or cramping
- Difficulty in handling objects or walking
Conditions that can be diagnosed through an EMG
EMG measures the electrical activity when a muscle is stimulated by a nerve. The test can be used to detect neuromuscular abnormalities, which include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- A pinched nerve
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Muscle diseases
- Muscular dystrophy
- Myasthenia gravis
How is Electromyography done?
The procedure involves insertion of a thin needle electrode through the skin into the muscle. The electrode helps to record the electrical activity that the muscles transmit. This activity is displayed on a monitor, and may be heard through a speaker. When the electrodes are inserted, the patient may be asked to contract the muscle.
EMG is a low-risk procedure. The only risks associated with EMG can be of bleeding, infection and nerve injury at the place where the electrode is inserted.
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