Electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine is the study of nerve and muscle diseases.
EDX helps determine if nerves and muscles are functioning properly and can include nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG).
Testing is ordered by a physician for individuals that have numbness, tingling, pain, weakness and / or muscle cramping. It is beneficial in identifying nerves and/or muscles that may be damaged.
Muscles & Nerves
Nerves work like electrical cords – they send signals from your body to your brain and your brain to your muscles. Your muscles are the tissues in your body that help you move. [i]
When working properly, the nerves send electrical impulses to the muscles. A nerve disorder means that signals are not getting through like they should. A muscle disorder means the muscles are not responding to the signals correctly. [ii]
Electrodiagnostic testing is used to reveal nerve and/or muscle dysfunction or issues with nerve-to- muscle signal transmission.[iii]
Preparing for Your Test
Please tell us if you are taking aspirin or prescription blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin, Warfarin, Heparin) and/or if you have a pacemaker or hemophilia.
It is important to take a shower prior to your exam to remove oil from your skin and do not use lotion in the area being tested. If you have any rashes, skin infections, or open wounds area being examined, we will need to postpone the test until they are healed.
Edema and swelling can interfere with the test. If you normally wear compression hose, please wear them all day and to your appointment. We can help you remove them for the test, and put them back on afterward.
What to wear
- Comfortable, loose clothing that allows us to access your entire arm(s), shoulder and upper back.
- No jewelry with the exception of a wedding band.
- Comfortable, loose clothing that allows us to access your entire leg(s). Loose fitting shorts are preferable.
What to Expect During Your Exam
All patients will receive a brief medical exam prior to testing. The testing includes two parts, NCS(s) and an EMG.
The NCS applies small electrical shocks to the nerve(s) to study the nerve(s) which cause quick, mild tingling.
The EMG requires a small, thin needle to be placed into several muscles in the area of interest. The needles pick up electrical signals which then travel to the EMG machine. The signals produce both visual and audio data for the doctor to observe to determine how your muscles and nerves are working.
Exams generally take 30 to 60 minutes. You will be asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow us to review your medical history and prepare you for your exam.
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[i] American Association of Neuromuscular & Eletrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM), 2017. www.aanem.org.
[ii] American Association of Neuromuscular & Eletrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM), 2017. www.aanem.org.
[iii] “Electromyography (EMG).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 May 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/emg/about/pac-