Ask the MSK Expert: What is an EMG?


Dr. Esman says: “An EMG (electromyography) is a diagnostic test used to evaluate nerve and muscle disorders. Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of a nerve or muscle disorder and have symptoms that include tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, muscle pain or cramping, or certain types of limb pain.


“The potential conditions that may be diagnosed using an EMG are pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome, other nerve entrapment syndromes, peripheral neuropathy and neuromuscular diseases.

“The test is performed in the office and usually takes 20 minutes to 30 minutes. There are two parts to the test – the nerve conduction studies (NCS) and the EMG. During the nerve conduction studies, nerves are evaluated by stimulation with electrical currents. Tiny electrodes are taped to the skin to measure the speed and strength of signals traveling between two or more points. The EMG portion uses a tiny needle electrode inserted directly into the muscles. Then, the results are reported to your physician to help diagnose or rule out certain conditions and to guide your treatment.”

Physician Spotlight
Judith H. Esman, M.D., is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Tri Rivers. She performs EMG testing and Botox therapy for chronic migraines. When treating patients’ pain disorders, she focuses on functional restoration and fitness to help them achieve the best quality of life.

Dr. Esman sees patients in our North Hills office. To schedule an appointment with her, or any other Tri Rivers provider, please call 1-866-874-7483 or click here.