Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) are tests used to determine the electrical activity in the muscles and the speed at which nerve impulses are conducted, respectively. Completed by Dr. Tabby in the office, these electrodiagnostic tests allow her to provide an appropriate treatment plan for a variety of muscular and nervous system conditions.
Dr. Tabby will confirm the need to perform the test, but it may be performed in those suffering from numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, muscle cramping, or certain types of limb or muscle pain. EMG/NCV can aid in diagnosis of radiculopathy in those suffering from neck and low back pain with radiation into the arms and legs. It can diagnose peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetic neuropathy in patients experiencing numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. EMG/NCV can also be used in the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, or those with peripheral nerve injuries.
Electrodiagnostic tests help distinguish where along the nerve or muscle path the issue may be. EMG can often help in the diagnosis of muscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy or in distinguishing disease of the neuromuscular junction such as myasthenia gravis, and many others.
Physiatrists like Dr. Tabby help treat injuries of the musculoskeletal system, working to restore patients to optimal levels of functioning in their daily lives. Tests such as EMG/NCV help provide Dr. Tabby a picture of how a patient’s nerves and muscles are responding to stimuli, and therefore a picture of how well they are functioning. This is often part of her scientific and methodical work-up to reach a diagnosis that explains a patient’s constellation of symptoms.
Dr. Tabby embodies the “art of medicine” philosophy, forging strong relationships with her patients built on trust and mutual respect, and at the same time pursuing a rigorous diagnostic work-up. She utilizes electromyography and nerve conduction velocity testing as tools to not only aid in forming an accurate diagnosis so that she can form an appropriate treatment plan, but also to provide patients some much needed answers and education regarding their condition.
Dr. Tabby performs these tests in the office for the convenience of her patients. Depending on the symptoms or the potential concern, one may be performed, or both in tandem. Dr. Tabby will explain the tests to the patient prior to performing them and allow the patient to ask any questions they may have. The patient will dress in a gown and lie or sit on an exam table so that Dr. Tabby has access to the muscles for testing. Testing takes less than one hour.
For electromyography (EMG), very fine needles are inserted into the muscle to record electrical activity in response to stimuli. For nerve conduction velocity (NCV) testing, little electrodes are placed on the surface of the skin and the time it takes for an impulse to travel from one to the other is measured. Dr. Tabby may ask the patient to contract the muscle or perform other maneuvers to determine a response. Patients may experience slight discomfort during the test or soreness after, but it is generally not considered painful.
Dr. Tabby will review the results and then explain them to the patient and send a copy to any other treating physicians that may like a copy, such as neurologists, so that optimal coordination of care can occur.