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What is an EMG?

Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) and Electromyography (EMG) evaluate the function of nerves and muscles and are always completed together. During NCS, small shocks are given to different nerves and the signal traveling through the nerve is recorded. During EMG, small needles are inserted into muscles so the neurologist can see and hear electrical signals made by the muscles when they are both resting and moving. EMG/NCS can be performed on arms and/or legs or even the face depending on patient symptoms.

When is EMG necessary?

Your doctor may order an EMG if you have signs or symptoms that may indicate a nerve or muscle disorder. Such symptoms may include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle pain or cramping

What will an EMG tell you?

EMG results are often helpful to diagnose or rule out a number of neuromuscular conditions:

  • Muscle disorders, such as polymyositis
  • Diseases affecting the connection between the nerve and the muscle, such as Myasthenia Gravis
  • Disorders of peripheral nerves, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or peripheral polyneuropathy
  • Disorders that affect the motor neurons in the brain or spinal cord, such as Amyotophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Disorders that affect nerve roots, such as a herniated disc in the spine

Preparing for your EMG :

  • Inform the EMG doctor if you are taking anti-platelet medications (like Aspirin) or blood thinners (like Coumadin), have a pacemaker or have a blood condition like hemophilia.
  • Day of test-
    • Take a bath or shower to remove oil from your skin
    • Do not use body lotion
  • Normal activity can be done before the test, like eating, driving and exercising
  • Continue all normal medications leading up to the test unless specifically notified by the Neurology Clinic.

What to expect day of EMG:

The test lasts from 45 to 120 minutes. You may be placed in a gown to allow access to arms and/or legs.  There can be discomfort during the test which typically resolves quickly. There are no lasting side effects from the test and you can do all normal activities afterwards. A detailed report is completed by the Neurologist and results are sent to the doctor who ordered the test.

To schedule an appointment, call:

Omaha - (402) 717-2222

Grand Island - (308) 398-8900

Kearney - (308) 865-2370

Karen Bremer, MD


Shane Burr, MD

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Yu-Ting Chen, MD


Laura Danielson, MD


David M. Schanbacher, MD

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Sona Shah, MBBS