What is the Difference Between EMG & NCV’s & What Are the Benefits

jacksonville orthapedic institute EMG & NCV’sThe Sea Spine Orthopedic Institute is a Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute that specializes in Orthopedic Treatment and Evaluation, Interventional Pain Management and Pre-Surgical Evaluation as well as Independent Medical Evaluations. One of the Interventional Pain Management procedures we offer is EMG and NCV testing. EMG stands for electromyography, which is the recording of the electrical activity of muscle tissue and NCV stands for a Nerve Conduction Velocity, which is a measurement of the speed of conduction of an electrical impulse through the nerve. In layman’s terms, EMG and NCV are two different tests, that test muscle and nerve activity. Both tests help evaluate and treat problems related to muscles and nerves. The difference between the two tests is that the EMG measures electrical activity of the muscle system and related nerves whereas the NCV test only looks for problems within the nerves.  Another difference between the tests is that the EMG tests use needles and the NCV test uses patches to impulse the skin. Both tests are highly beneficial to determining why you’re in pain. After the tests have been conducted, the doctor can diagnose.

One may take an EMG to discover what is damaging muscle tissue, nerves, or spots where the muscles and nerves join. A herniated disc, myasthenia gravis, or lateral sclerosis are some of the conditions where an EMG may be beneficial. At our Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute, an EMG may also be useful for finding the cause of weakness, paralysis or muscle twitching.

There are two components of an EMG test. The first part is the nerve conduction study, which involves placing small sensors on the skin to assess the ability of motor neurons to send electrical signals. The second part of the EMG is known as Needle EMG and is also the process of placing sensors on the skin but these sensors are needles which are directly inserted into the muscle tissue.

An NCV test is conducted to find damage to the peripheral nervous system, which includes all nerves that lead away from the brain and spinal cord, plus the smaller nerves that branch out from those nerves. One may take an NCV test to find nerve problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome or Guillain-Barre syndrome. NCV testing is different than EMG testing because the doctor is looking for the speed in which the electrode impulse moves through the nerve system, versus just looking for the presence of abnormal impulses. You may ask, how do you know if I have nerve damage? The answer is slow impulses indicate nerve damage. Specific conditions that can be caught due to running an NCV test are amyloidosis, diphtheria and trauma.

At our Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute, both tests are often run together so we can give the best diagnosis possible. The two tests when performed together can rule out issues with the nerves as a cause of muscle problems.  For more information please visit our website and contact a doctor  at the Sea Spine Orthopedic Institute today!

Posted in pain management