Edison, NJ -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/10/2018 -- Electrodiagnostic testing, also known as a nerve conduction velocity testing or NCV, is a common technique used to test nerve and muscle function. Physicians order these studies to help identify the cause of numbness or tingling in the neck or back. Conditions often diagnosed this way include pinched nerves, muscle disease, and peripheral nerve injuries. The test generally has two parts: one that tests the nerves (nerve conduction studies) and one that tests the muscles (electromyography). NCV shows how the nerves and muscles are functioning, helping determine the causes of pain, numbness, or weakness in the back or body.
Nerve conduction studies
The physician performs a nerve conduction study by placing sensors on the arms and legs in specific locations over the nerves and then stimulates those nerves using mild electric sensations. The procedure is not significantly painful, although there may be some minor discomfort. It allows doctors to see how effectively the nerves are functioning. They can compare the patient's nerve function to averages to help them gauge the severity of the problem.
Electromyography, or EMG, involves placing small needles into the arm, leg, or back muscles to evaluate the electrical activity generated by a muscle contraction. The needles feel similar to a minor cramp or a splinter, according to many patients. EMG gives the physician a picture of how well the muscles are functioning. It can also reveal whether the muscles are receiving signals from the nerves correctly.
When is NCV appropriate?
NCV is usually recommended when the cause of pain or tingling isn't known. It can also help doctors assess how severe a nerve injury is. Occasionally, the symptoms of other conditions can mimic those of a pinched nerve in the back or neck. NCV can also show whether other disorders may exist.
What to discuss with the doctor
The physician who performs the test will ask several questions about the nature of your symptoms to help them determine which specific muscles and nerves to test. They may also inquire about any other conditions that may affect the muscles and nerves such as thyroid problems or diabetes. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have ever had back or neck surgery.
Who should not have NCV
Most people can have NCV without complications. However, some people should avoid this procedure. Tell your doctor if you are on any blood-thinning medications such as warfarin or aspirin. If the test is imperative, your doctor may instruct you to stop taking the medication for a certain period before the test. They may not be able to perform specific portions of the test if you have a pacemaker.
At Precision Pain & Spine Institute, we offer electrodiagnostic testing as well as a range of other tests and treatments for patients with many different conditions. Feel free to contact us with any questions or to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you get to the bottom of the issue and restore your health and mobility.
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