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EMG Questions

Kat_woman38KKat_woman38 Posts: 162
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Lower Back Pain
Posted this in the Sciatica board and didn't get any response, so thought I'd repost here.

I am scheduled for an EMG this Wednesday. I've had so many of these done on my hands and arms I can't count, but never for sciatica. I know they're nothing to fear, and I also know they're not as pleasant as, say, eating my way through a box of Godiva truffles, either. But just out of curiosity, what can I expect? Do they check the back and the legs? Front and back of legs? My symptoms are worsening, progressing from just right leg problems over the last few years to the left leg being involved, pain and numbness all the way to the foot, and now my knee keeps giving out, though that may be just because I'm overcompensating due to the pain in the other leg. Anyone with previous experience that would like to share their experiences would be appreciated! I know that my experience will be different, I'd just like to know what may happen.

Thanks for sharing, all Smile


  • I would like to know too how they check the legs. I personally do not trust EMG's since the nightmare i had regarding false results, which lead to wrong surgery and having tons of symptoms after, mine were for arms and cervical issues. Not to get off subject but what was your ulnar surgeries for? I had a rare condition that there was a 3rd muscle compressing on mine. I hope someone comments on here about how the legs are done, and that you get the proper treatment to relieve your pain.
  • Just wanted to say that for my EMG they didn't do the back only above my toes and my calf area. It was uncomfortable for me when the tech did the little needle scanner but when the Neurologist and the Fellow Dr. came in to do the larger probe in my calf I couldn't finish the test as my leg was super sensitive. I have nerve compression at L4-5 with the test results. I hope your test goes well for you since you have had an EMG on your arms as I thought that area would be super sensitive more so but each person is able to manage the test alright for the most I think. I have an impingement at C6-7 but haven't had an EMG yet for my arm. Thinking positive thoughts for you for Wednesday. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Kat,
    I have had so many EMG's could not even count. But the emg I had for lumbar and sciatica they did check a small portion of my back and yes front and back of both legs. I have never found this test to be extremely painful but have alot of nerve damage and loss of feeling in legs. I don't know if that has anything to do with it.
    The only pain I ever had during an EMG was when a dr. stuck the needle in wrong in my neck. I could not move and thought I was paralysed. She stopped the test asap. I think she realized she messed up.
    I also recall my feet being tested when they did the lower extremities. Everyone is different and probably handle this test differently. I send you good thoughts and hope it's a breeze for you.
    Good luck and keep us posted on your test results.
  • Thanks for all the input! I'm not so afraid of the pain, as you all know, we all live daily with pain. I was just wondering, where are they going to be sticking me LOL? With my prior EMGs, I've been told that these are more a guideline, rather than a definitive test, as there are so many false negatives. Since my last post, my symptoms have increased yet again, but still not sure if it's compensation for the pain and limping or if it's actual symptoms. This is, literally, a pain in the butt.

    Too Young, I'll let you know about my test, where they poke me, etc. As for my ulnar nerve surgery, that was for entrapped nerves at the elbows. The way the surgeon explained it to me, it was sort of like carpal tunnel of the elbows, and very common for bartenders (of which I've only done at a very slow bar, and only for 2 months), in other words, for someone who leans on their elbows and chats with folks a lot. Usually this surgery is done by translocating the nerve to the inside of the elbow. Mine, they took a chip out of the bone to release the nerve, and OUCH. Very painful recovery, but glad I had it done, I haven't had a bit of trouble since then!
  • from my EMG. Yeouch. Doc was running behind, and for some reason they did all 4 extremities, so I got the full treatment. Yay me huh?

    Too Young, they did the sticky thing all over the top of my feet, and lower legs. Then they did the needles in the lower legs, calves, one each in the front of my thighs, and one on each side of my spine. The sticky twitch part as I call it was done by a different person, and the needle pokes done by the doc, so they have to enter the info into a computer and correlate the data so I won't have the results for a couple weeks on that. Mostly it was just painful due to the pain I was already in, I'm just not able to be in any position too long without being in pretty bad pain.
  • glad to hear it went well for you. I've not had emg for my legs yet, just my one arm with damage. Thanks for sharing your results...now I will know what to expect if ever I need it! thanks! and hope you feel better.
  • To make a long story short, I got the results of the MRI today. Without typing out the entire thing, I have 5 bulging discs, from L2 through S1, and up at T12-L1, so somehow I skipped one in there. I also have a small Tarlov cyst at the S1 level, which may be a bit of the problem, I'll have to do a bit of research on these things and talk more with the doctors to see how many problems these things cause.

    I started water and traction therapy yesterday, I didn't get in the water but had first traction session. I hope it gets better with time, I had to have the traction stopped after 10 minutes. Got my fingers crossed, though, and they have scheduled me with a pain management doc to try a nerve block as well. Here's hopin!

    Tarheelgirl, thanks for the kind words :) I hope things are going well for you as well!
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