You were injured in an accident and have pain shooting down your arm or leg. You think it may be a pinched nerve. One of the tests that your doctor may order to see if your nerve is actually pinched is an EMG. A pinched nerve happens when there is pressure surrounding tissue on that nerve. The pressure can come from bone (arthritis or a break) or cartilage like a herniated disc. Your doctor may use the term(s) radiculitis, neuritis or radiculopathy. When a nerve is pinched, you can feel pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the muscles in the area. An EMG can help the doctor differentiate if the pressure on the nerve is peripheral (outside of the spinal canal) or central (inside of the spinal canal). EMG stands for electromyography – with this test the Doctor places a needle into a muscle and sends an electrical impulse into the muscle and then measures how long it takes the electrical impulse travels to another point.
If there is something pressing on the nerve – the EMG may show a slowing of the nerve signal. EMGs can be very helpful in diagnosing injury in personal injury case.
Given the value of an EMG, it is a good idea to have a personal injury attorney who is not only familiar with EMG tests and what they mean, but who is capable of understanding the language used in the reports provided by the doctor.