Is an EMG (electromyography) painful?

Posted by wisfloj @wisfloj, Jun 16, 2020

I canceled my EMG appointment because I was ‘chicken’. They called me to reschedule and I’m on the fence here. So veterans…. How bad is it?
I’ve had a nerve conduction study and that was tolerable. Thank you for sharing your experience/thoughts.

@marye2

Smart! I have MCTD and have had the tests, but comes out normal. Have had some success treating like fibromyalgia, which requires movement to keep pain at bay. Inflammation, fluids pressing against nerves is my take. A daily walk for generalized pain; PT for specific joints. I use KT (kinesiology) tape to isolate painful areas, lidocaine patches, ice/heat, epsom salt baths, accupressure point massage…haven't tried accupuncture yet. Compression socks make a difference for legs.

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Sounds like you've got it down to a science. What we do for our bodies. Keep up the good work!

Liked by Hank

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Okay okay! I will go LOL i’m on Medicare now so it’ll be covered, it’s only about a half hour from me, and when it’s over I can say I tried everything. I have some Xanax I haven’t taken in a while, so I think one of those should do the trick and Yes I will have a driver.My only issue was the pain I’m anticipating🐔Thank you to my cheerleaders!
Joanne

Liked by rwinney, Hank

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@wisfloj

Okay okay! I will go LOL i’m on Medicare now so it’ll be covered, it’s only about a half hour from me, and when it’s over I can say I tried everything. I have some Xanax I haven’t taken in a while, so I think one of those should do the trick and Yes I will have a driver.My only issue was the pain I’m anticipating🐔Thank you to my cheerleaders!
Joanne

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@wisfloj YAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!! 😃

Liked by Hank

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@wisfloj

Okay okay! I will go LOL i’m on Medicare now so it’ll be covered, it’s only about a half hour from me, and when it’s over I can say I tried everything. I have some Xanax I haven’t taken in a while, so I think one of those should do the trick and Yes I will have a driver.My only issue was the pain I’m anticipating🐔Thank you to my cheerleaders!
Joanne

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Ain't clarity great? Good luck Joanne.

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@wisfloj

Okay okay! I will go LOL i’m on Medicare now so it’ll be covered, it’s only about a half hour from me, and when it’s over I can say I tried everything. I have some Xanax I haven’t taken in a while, so I think one of those should do the trick and Yes I will have a driver.My only issue was the pain I’m anticipating🐔Thank you to my cheerleaders!
Joanne

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Hope all is well with you. Wondering how you are since your last message. Just wanted you to know cheerleaders like to cheer. Best Wishes.

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I did reschedule my EMG, can’t get in till September! I have expired Xanax, which I know RXs are potent afterwards, they said it’s fine to take one. beforehand. So that is the plan 😬

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I had two EMGs done about a month apart by two different neurologists. The first neurologist had 30 years experience. I don’t know what the problem was, but he had me jumping off the table with pain. He finally zapped me one last time and said. “We’ll stop here.” I wish I had stopped him myself. A month later a second neurologist did an EMG test and I had no pain at all. I should mention that my condition hadn’t changed during this period. EMGs needn’t be painful. The skill of the doctor or technician has a lot to do with it.

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I've had my share of EMG's, 3 at Mayo and a couple at HP Specialty Centre's. Every single one of them were horribly painful. Each time I had tried to discuss my neuropathy with any of my Mayo doctors, they bring up having another EMG. I'd rather be miserable with neuropathy than go through that horrendous pain again. I would really like to know which doctor you had perform it pain free. Needles and the electrical shocks all the way up each leg, front and back as well as in my feet seemed to take forever and then having them move the needles around in quite a few spots in the muscles or nerves to get the "right" spot. No thank you!!

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I had both an EMG and NCS done earlier this year. Like others have said I wouldn't say it's necessarily painful but more unpleasant but it's the only way to get a definitive answer.

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Definitive answer… to what? I’m truly wondering what good it is, I was told i have idiopathic small fiber neuropathy and offered the usual-Gabapentin, Lyrica. Can the results be helpful in recommending a treatment? What’s the point in having some 'numbers' stating the degree of damage. Am I missing something? And then perhaps another EMG is recommended down the road to tell you what you know from living. with it, it is worse, or it is the same.
Has anyone benefitted from the results of an EMG? Other than to have confirmation you’re not imagining it. Thank you

Liked by rwinney

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@wisfloj

Definitive answer… to what? I’m truly wondering what good it is, I was told i have idiopathic small fiber neuropathy and offered the usual-Gabapentin, Lyrica. Can the results be helpful in recommending a treatment? What’s the point in having some 'numbers' stating the degree of damage. Am I missing something? And then perhaps another EMG is recommended down the road to tell you what you know from living. with it, it is worse, or it is the same.
Has anyone benefitted from the results of an EMG? Other than to have confirmation you’re not imagining it. Thank you

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@wisfloj I completely understand what you are saying and honestly think this is similar to the expression "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Each person can see a topic like this uniquely to themselves or their specific needs. I can shed light from 2 different perspectives.

1. I had an EMG/NCS a few years ago because I was undiagnosed and trouble shooting for answers to cervical and occipital pain, among other things.

2. Tomorrow I will have my 2nd EMG/NCS (by my choice) after receiving confirmation of SFPN 18 months ago. Why am I having it again if I already know what's wrong?

For me personally, I want to rule out any possible changes to my large nerve fibers, to verify no additional progression is taking place. Plus, I'm seeing a new Neurologist for a 2nd opinion. He will complete the test and speak to me next week. I've never had a 2nd neuroligical opinion since my diagnosis plus, the last test was not done by an actual neurologist. Maybe that means nothing in the long run.

I could be wasting my time, sacrificing discomfort and a co-pay for nothing more than laying something to rest but, that's me. I think you should do what makes sense for you.

Well wishes,
Rachel

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Hi Rachel, rereading here as I’m dreading my rescheduled EMG for 9/4. So what happened with your recent EMG? Did you get any useful info. And perhaps a new direction for treatment? My dr hasn’t made it too clear why she wants me to have this done? I’m just told there’s no cause and no cure for the neuropathy. Take care,
Joanne

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Its not that bad- do not dread. I have had quite few.may be slightly uncomfortable but no big deal.

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@wisfloj

Hi Rachel, rereading here as I’m dreading my rescheduled EMG for 9/4. So what happened with your recent EMG? Did you get any useful info. And perhaps a new direction for treatment? My dr hasn’t made it too clear why she wants me to have this done? I’m just told there’s no cause and no cure for the neuropathy. Take care,
Joanne

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@wisfloj Hey, Joanne. You poor thing. You are still streesing yourself out about this test. I don't think anyone can truly change how you feel about it. You're going to just have to tough it out and realize it's not going to kill you and you will get through it, or cancel it. Personally, I requested to be retested with EMG/NCS because I wanted to rule out any advancements in to Large Fiber Neuropathy. My results were negative! Thankfully so. Its diagnostic so you can better understand your body and either confirm or dispel a diagnosis.
Best wishes,
Rachel

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@wisfloj Hello, Joanne

I agree with @rwinney that you might be stressing a bit too much right now. I have found that one thing that makes an EMG more tolerable is to ask for heat to be applied to the extremities prior to the EMG. The longer they will keep the heat pack on the better it is. This test, compared to others I've had, really is very tolerable. I know we all have different reactions to medical tests, and while this test might be a bit uncomfortable at times it is really not all that bad.

Do you tend to stress out over medical tests in general or is it just this one? Do you fear the results? If you answer yes to either of these questions, please know that finding a good answer to health problems is the first step to getting a good diagnosis and beginning an effective treatment.

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