is a test on the nerves in the arms and hands. It is a test that measures how quickly messages are travelling along your nerves. The speed at which the nerves are working can give information about whether a nerve is trapped or damaged.
The doctor places a small needle electrode into muscles in your hand and arm that get impulses from the median nerve. The needle sends electric impulses into the muscle. You relax and flex your hand several times. The doctor can tell if your median nerve is damaged or being squeezed.
As the nerve is stimulated, you will experience a brief electrical shock. This may feel uncomfortable, but it usually isn't painful. The entire procedure usually takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. In some cases, nerves may be tested in multiple locations, which can make the procedure take slightly longer.
Nerve conduction studies help diagnose nerve damage or disease. When EMG tests and nerve conduction studies are done together, it helps providers tell if your symptoms are caused by a muscle disorder or a nerve problem.
You must stay at a normal body temperature. Being too cold or too warm alters nerve conduction and can give false results. Tell your doctor if you have a cardiac defibrillator or pacemaker. Special steps will need to be taken before the test if you have one of these devices.
In many instances, nerve damage cannot be cured entirely. But there are various treatments that can reduce your symptoms. Because nerve damage is often progressive, it is important to consult with a doctor when you first notice symptoms. That way you can reduce the likelihood of permanent damage.
Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet. It can also affect other areas and body functions including digestion, urination and circulation.
There's a small risk of bleeding, infection and nerve injury where a needle electrode is inserted. When muscles along the chest wall are examined with a needle electrode, there's a very small risk that it could cause air to leak into the area between the lungs and chest wall, causing a lung to collapse (pneumothorax).
Is it normal to have pain after a nerve conduction study?
The discomfort, or mild pain experienced by some patients, following the application of electrical stimulation during nerve conduction studies (NCS) is transient and self-limiting and will not initiate or aggravate pre-existing symptoms beyond the duration of the actual investigation.
Do not eat or drink foods that contain caffeine (such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate) for 2 to 3 hours before the test. Wear loose-fitting clothing so your muscles and nerves can be tested. You may be given a hospital gown to wear. Take a shower or bath before your exam to remove oils from your skin.
If I injure the nerves of my hand, what kind of treatments can I expect? Nonsurgical treatment of nerve injuries can include rest, splinting, icing, and physical therapy. If the nerve has been severed, then surgery will be necessary to rejoin the disconnected ends and restore function and feeling.
Numbness & Tingling — The patient may experience loss of sensation in the hand, including feelings of numbness and/or tingling. Shooting Pain — The patient may experience episodes of shooting pain in the affected area, whether temporary or prolonged in nature.
If you have neuropathy, the most commonly described feelings are sensations of numbness, tingling (“pins and needles”), and weakness in the area of the body affected. Other sensations include sharp, lightening-like pain; or a burning, throbbing or stabbing pain.
If you're able to have an EMG, you should do the following beforehand: Avoid smoking for at least three hours before the procedure. Bathe or take a shower to remove any oils from the skin. Don't apply any lotions or creams after washing.