EMG stands for electromyography, and NCS stands for nerve conduction studies. These two studies comprise the electrodiagnostic testing that I utilize routinely in my workup of any patient with arm pain, leg pain, or numbness/tingling in the extremity.

This test helps determine exactly which nerve root from the spine is involved, as well as detect the presence of any peripheral neuropathy or other nerve entrapment, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome (entrapment of the ulnar nerve at the elbow).

There is also prognostic benefit as well. I think this test is extremely valuable in identifying the exact source of nerve involvement and helping my patient and I determine what kind of urgency, or lack of urgency we have.

Written By Nathan Walters, M.D.

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