Last Updated October 11th, 2019
What is electromyography?
Electromyography is an electrodiagnostic test. It evaluates the functioning of the muscles and the nerves that control them. Electromyography is used to help detect neuromuscular abnormalities. Put simply, EMG detects the presence, location, and extent of diseases that damage the nerves and muscles.
Nerve conduction studies (NCS) and Electro-encephalography (EEG) are some other commonly performed electrodiagnostic tests. There is an old saying that “Electromyography is an extension of the percussion hammer”.
Why has my doctor ordered electromyography?
Your doctor will ask you to go through an EMG if you suffer from the following signs and symptoms-
– Radiating pain or burning sensation
– Decreased sensation
– Muscle spasms or weakness
– Non-specific limb pain
– Difficulty in performing daily tasks as well as tasks which require fine motor control.
What are the medical conditions that an EMG can diagnose?
Electromyography can detect a plethora of neuromuscular disorders, the prominent ones being:
– Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
– Carpal tunnel syndrome
– Cervical spondylosis
– Guillain-Barre syndrome
– Lambert-Eaton syndrome
– Muscular dystrophy
– Myasthenia gravis
– Peripheral neuropathy
Am I at risk while undergoing EMG?
EMG is a minimally invasive procedure. EMG needles are used for only one patient and are not recycled. Complications though uncommon may involve bruising, bleeding and infection at the puncture site. Nerve injury is another rare complication of this procedure.
Pneumothorax is a rare complication when muscles along the chest wall are examined. (Needle electrodes used to invade the muscles may lead to an air leak in the region between the lungs and chest wall).
How many cases of ALS are reported in India each year?
ALS is counted as a rare disease with only 6 out of 100,000 people diagnosed with this condition every year, worldwide. In India, ALS is reported in 5 people out of every 100,000 people. Contrary to popular belief, only 10% of all cases of ALS are inherited genetically. 90% of all ALS cases are sporadic. It is twice as common in men as compared to women.