EMG and NCS: Indications

EMG and NCS: Indications | HealthSoul

Needle Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve conduction study are a part of a group of tests called electro diagnostic tests. These tests are used to assess the functioning of the muscle and the nerve supplying it. In addition to this, they can be used to identify the location and extent of damage or injury to the muscle or nerve.

Procedure of EMG and NCS


For this test your provider will attach surface electrodes on your skin along the path of the nerve to be tested. A small electric current is applied to one of the electrode and readings are taken from the other electrodes. You might feel slight discomfort when the electric current is applied (most patients do not need pain medication for this procedure). The readings are recorder on the screen and interpreted by the electromyographer performing the test.


A thin needle with microscopic electrode is introduced into the muscle to record its electrical activity at rest and during activity. The readings are recorded on the screen and interpreted by the electromyographer performing the test. This test may lead to discomfort when the needle is inserted.

Indications for EMG and NCS

Electromyography may be indicated by your doctor if you have the following complains:

  • Numbness or burning sensation
  • Radiating pain
  • Tingling sensation
  • Reduced sensation
  • Muscle spasm and weakness
  • Difficulty in normal activities like buttoning your shirt or lifting a cup of coffee.

This procedure is helpful in the diagnosis of multiple diseases like:

Indications for EMG and NCS

Preparation for EMG and NCS

The test is completed in about 30-90 minutes. You will be allowed to go home after the test. The results will be discussed with you by your provider a few days after the test. There are no specific preparations required for the test. You will be asked to remove your jewellery and avoid using skin lotion on the day of testing.

You are requested to notify your provider if you have been consuming blood thinner medications or have an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator.

Complications for EMG and NCS

EMG and NCS are extremely safe procedure. You might feel soreness at the site of insertion of needle. This generally resolves in a day or two.

Recovery from EMG and NCS

You will be allowed to go home as soon as the procedure is over. The results will be sent to your doctor, who will discuss them with you.