Types of Tests
For this test, a small, thin needle is inserted into several muscles to see if there are any problems. It is used once for each patient and is thrown away after the test. There may be a small amount of pain during this part of the examination. The doctor tests only the muscles necessary to decide what is wrong. During the EMG test the doctor will be able to hear and see how your muscles and nerves are working by the electrical signals made by your muscles. The doctor then uses his medical knowledge to figure out what could be causing your problem.
What to Expect
View an EMG
Peter Grant, MD, performs an electromyography, as seen on the television show "The Doctors."
Nerve conduction studies
Nerve conduction studies show how well the body’s electrical signals are traveling to a nerve. This is done by applying small electrical shocks to the nerve and recording how the nerve works. These shocks cause a quick, mild, tingling feeling. The doctor may test several nerves.
Evoked potentials are painless tests that check the nerve pathways through the spinal cord or from the eyes and ears. The signals for these tests can come from small electrical shocks, light pulses, or clicks of sound in the ears. The nerve responses are recorded over the scalp and other areas of skin.
Creatine Kinase Blood Test
The Creatine Kinase (CK) level in the blood is the most sensitive indicator of muscle injury. CK testing can also be helpful in distinguishing different types of neuromuscular disorders. To measure CK levels, a blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm, just like any other blood sample test. Before the test, be sure to discuss all the medications you are taking with your physician, as some medications may increase your CK level. Watch the video for more information.
Ischemic Exercise Test
The Forearm Ischemic Exercise Test is useful in the differential diagnosis of metabolic causes of muscle weakness, fatigue, and cramps. The test consists of a series of blood draws taken from the arm, both while the arm is at rest, and after exercising it while wearing a blood pressure cuff. Changes in blood chemistry between blood draws detect metabolism problems in the muscle. Watch the video for more information.
A muscle biopsy is a procedure used to diagnose diseases involving muscle tissue. Tissue and cells from a specific muscle are removed and viewed microscopically. The procedure requires only a small piece of tissue to be removed from the designated muscle. The information these tests provide helps determine exactly what disease and what form of it the person has. Watch the video for more information.