Procedure and Preparation For Conducting a EMG Nerve Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is a Electromyogram Test?

An electromyogram test is a medical procedure that is primarily used to record the electrical activity of the muscles within the human body that is produced when the muscles are in motion. Muscle and tissue damage is a common medical ailment that can be caused by a number of factors. An EMG nerve test is one of the most widely used and most effective methods of correctly identifying the primary cause of this occurrence. Some of the more common causes of muscle tissue damage include other medical conditions such as Lou Gehrig's disease, a herniated disc and myasthenia gravis.

Procedure For Conducting a EMG Nerve Test

EMG nerve tests are conducted by the doctor inserting a set of small solid needles into the muscles that serve to capture the electrical activity. The needles are connected to an oscilloscope where the electrical activity is visually displayed for the medical staff to analyze. Some hospitals or clinics may instead connect the needles to speakers in order to analyze the electrical activity audibly. Because of the fact that the skeletal muscles in the body are rather large, the doctor may need to place a number of electrodes at various locations of the body in order to obtain an informative EMG.

The data captured during an EMG nerve conduction test will be analyzed with close attention being paid to the size and shape of the waveform - which represents the response of the muscle to nervous stimulation. During the EMG nerve test, the technician will repeatedly ask you to contract your muscles in order to generate the response data. The entire test should ideally take no longer than 45 minutes and is conducted on a rather small machine that looks a lot like a simple laptop.


When deciding to undergo an EMG nerve conduction test, you should prepare yourself for the slight pain that will be caused when inserting the needles into the body. However, this pain is rather minimal and should not cause too much discomfort. It is important that you inform the doctor of any prescribed or non prescribed medication that your are taking, as some medicines may interfere with the test results. Stay clear of blood thinning medication just before the test while alcohol should be avoided at all costs. You should also avoid wearing any colognes or perfumes as the testing areas need to be as clean and as hygienic as possible.