The muscle nerve strip test or electromyography (EMG) measures the muscle response in response to stimulation of the muscle nerve. This test is used to help diagnose neuromuscular abnormalities. During the test, one or more small needles, also called electrodes, are inserted through the skin into the muscle. The electrical activity picked up by the electrodes is then displayed on an oscilloscope (a monitor that displays electrical activity in the form of waves).

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Applications of nerve and muscle strip test

Electromyography can detect injuries or diseases that affect your motor nerves and muscles, and it can also determine the location and extent of the damage. It is better to perform this test together with NCS to obtain a favorable result.

Some of the applications of the nerve and muscle tape test include the following:

  • Nerve root damage, such as sciatica
  • Cramps or muscle pains
  • Nervous tic that is the result of abnormal muscle contraction
  • Movement problems, such as involuntary pulling of muscles
  • Muscle wasting, such as muscular dystrophy
  • Disorders related to the body’s nervous system such as ASL disease
  • Use of nerve tape in radiculopathy and nerve damage due to disc herniation or arthritis

What happens during an EMG test?

EMG test consists of two parts: nerve conduction study and needle EMG. Neurologists usually perform an EMG test immediately after a nerve conduction study. First, you will be asked to sit on a chair or lie on a bed. The specialist doctor places several electrodes on the surface of your skin to measure the electrical signal passing through the nerves

After checking nerve conduction, it is time for needle EMG. At this stage, the specialist doctor first disinfects the injury site, then places the needle electrode in the muscle. A needle electrode is a special wire through which a gentle electric current passes. You may feel some pain or burning when the electrode is inserted

The device records muscle activity while your muscle is resting

You are then asked to contract the muscle slowly and steadily. The device will also record this activity. The recorded electrical activity is displayed on a monitor screen as waves. This recorded activity may also be sent to an audio speaker. You may hear popping sounds when the muscle contracts

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Does the EMG test show a compressed nerve?

EMG It can help diagnose the nerve and its related issues, but it cannot show accurately. Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans can help your doctor see the compressed nerve and its cause (such as a herniated disc)

Risks of EMG testing

You may feel some muscle pain or cramping during an EMG test, or you may feel a tingling sensation, like a mild electric shock, during a nerve conduction study

How long does the EMG test take?

The test usually takes 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how many muscles are being tested

What should I expect after the EMG test?

Your muscles may be sore or tender for a few days after the test. Muscle pain is usually not severe and should improve in less than a week. You may also see some bruising where the needles entered your skin, which is normal

See your doctor if you see the following:

  • Bleeding at the site of the needles does not stop
  • You feel severe pain or tenderness where the needles entered your skin
  • Redness, warmth, swelling, or fever. These may be signs of infection

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