Discussions By Condition: Nerve conditions

This is what an EMG test is like!

Posted In: Nerve conditions 2 Replies
  • Posted By: jeanill
  • May 7, 2008
  • 09:43 PM

Hi everyone...if you are going to have an EMG test...I would like top let you know what it felt like to me...I had one yesterday, and I was worried that it would hurt...So here goes…First-my test was done in two parts...first they tape two little tabs on your skin and clip on wires to them...to record the nerve waves on a little monitor...then they use a small hand held machine with two knobs on the bottom (with gel applied) and they press this against your skin on your arm or leg (they were testing my arm)...and then they give a brief electric shock, but you do NOT feel it from the machine...what you DO feel is a small (about a second) spasm racing through your nerves (in my case it was in my hand) and my fingers would move slightly. They had several settings on the machine and they gave me the lowest to highest. The highest setting was slightly worse, but NOT painful...it was more like a strong momentary spasm. They did this on several parts of my arm, and watched the wave on the monitor. Ok...now for part TWO. In this part they used a small 1 1/2 inch needle (about the thickness of a thick sewing thread) and the doctor puts only 1/4th of it into the skin (she said they put it in deeper in your leg, because it has to go through the fat into the muscle), and she does this one place at a time. So she first jabbed it quickly in my upper arm about 1/4 in to my shoulder. When she did this, it did NOT feel painful...it felt like a DULL poke, and then I did NOT feel anything...so I figured that this part of the test was better... But I was wrong…Well, anyway…Then I had to move my arm and the doctor watched the zig-zag lines on the monitor that showed my muscle activity (there was noise from the monitor like static, when I moved my arm)! (Each time she put the needle in, I had to move my arm so she could watch the waves on the monitor.) Next she poked it into my lower arm (and it also felt just like a DULL poke)...but this time it DID hurt slightly, when it was in my arm...but AFTER she removed it...I felt a sharp stinging pain (very small area) for about a minute...then it went away...This was the worst part for me. And the last place she tested me was at the bottom of my thumb...and it hurt a little when the needle was in my skin... (like a slight stinging)...then the test was over! ...So from my perspective...all the electric shocks feel the same...(like brief nerve spasms, lasting about a second, that travel down the nerve and make your muscles twitch)...and all the needle pokes felt like DULL *****s going in...but some hurt a little (like a stinging pain) when they were in the muscle and others did not! I guess it hurts a little more in the leg muscles!!!!! Well, anyway, I hope this helps anyone who wants to know one persons experience with this test!!! And I hope it reveals what is wrong with my nerves!:)

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2 Replies:

  • I've also had this done except I had it done on my leg, and the EMG was slightly more painful there. I was asked to move my leg with the needle deeply inserted into my calf muscle and it was painful to me. Especially when the physician moved the needle around inside that muscle. The actual needle itself wasn't too painful, but the movement inside the muscle while he was adjusting amplitude etc, was a bit more painful. It wasn't so painful that I wouldn't do it again, but it was painful enough to not want to do it again for a long time.
    nesa40 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi everyone...if you are going to have an EMG test...I would like top let you know what it felt like to me...I had one yesterday, and I was worried that it would hurt...So here goes…First-my test was done in two parts...first they tape two little tabs on your skin and clip on wires to them...to record the nerve waves on a little monitor...then they use a small hand held machine with two knobs on the bottom (with gel applied) and they press this against your skin on your arm or leg (they were testing my arm)...and then they give a brief electric shock, but you do NOT feel it from the machine...what you DO feel is a small (about a second) spasm racing through your nerves (in my case it was in my hand) and my fingers would move slightly. They had several settings on the machine and they gave me the lowest to highest. The highest setting was slightly worse, but NOT painful...it was more like a strong momentary spasm. They did this on several parts of my arm, and watched the wave on the monitor. Ok...now for part TWO. In this part they used a small 1 1/2 inch needle (about the thickness of a thick sewing thread) and the doctor puts only 1/4th of it into the skin (she said they put it in deeper in your leg, because it has to go through the fat into the muscle), and she does this one place at a time. So she first jabbed it quickly in my upper arm about 1/4 in to my shoulder. When she did this, it did NOT feel painful...it felt like a DULL poke, and then I did NOT feel anything...so I figured that this part of the test was better... But I was wrong…Well, anyway…Then I had to move my arm and the doctor watched the zig-zag lines on the monitor that showed my muscle activity (there was noise from the monitor like static, when I moved my arm)! (Each time she put the needle in, I had to move my arm so she could watch the waves on the monitor.) Next she poked it into my lower arm (and it also felt just like a DULL poke)...but this time it DID hurt slightly, when it was in my arm...but AFTER she removed it...I felt a sharp stinging pain (very small area) for about a minute...then it went away...This was the worst part for me. And the last place she tested me was at the bottom of my thumb...and it hurt a little when the needle was in my skin... (like a slight stinging)...then the test was over! ...So from my perspective...all the electric shocks feel the same...(like brief nerve spasms, lasting about a second, that travel down the nerve and make your muscles twitch)...and all the needle pokes felt like DULL *****s going in...but some hurt a little (like a stinging pain) when they were in the muscle and others did not! I guess it hurts a little more in the leg muscles!!!!! Well, anyway, I hope this helps anyone who wants to know one persons experience with this test!!! And I hope it reveals what is wrong with my nerves!:)Thank you so much - my husband has had constant pain in his feet now for several years - he is a mechanic and we are lucky that he has his own shop because he has to work on serveral layers of carpet in socks to even stand very long - no insurance and going thru the VA so everything is taking forever - especially when you can only have 2 complaints at a time and can only make appt to see the dr on 6 mo intervals - so this test will be in May -glad to know what it entails and I pray that you are doing well - thank you
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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