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Myelogram and EMG

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I will be getting these done within the next couple of weeks and I was just wondering about member input on how the test went for you , if you were sore afterwards , etc...let me say in advance , thank you for any input here... :)


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    Hi Miki,

    I have had both several times.

    But my Myelograms were back in the 70's and 80's and the procedures changed. The first time, after I was told NOT to lay down for 24 hours, the second time, I was told NOT to sit up for 24 hours. Either case, if I didnt I would have a miserable headache. The actual procedures were quite and the results were detailed (both times resulted in surgery)

    EMG... First 3 were easy. As long as you dont mind a bunch of needles and some electrical current shocks. The procedure was about 15 minutes and only slightly uncomfortable. All depends on what they are looking for. In the cervical area, it should be quicker and less needles.
    In the lumbar and lower areas, I know its a longer procedure. My last one was about 45 minutes long and I felt like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon when he was tied up and he was giving car battery zaps!

    Dont worry, Miki, thats only the extreme.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Miki,
    I have only gone through a EMG and it was not that big of a deal. Ron is right if you don't mind a few well placed needles it is not that bad. Mine lasted about an hour and the doctor tried to be as quick as he could about things, just that I had a lot of things to get checked. He was able to determine that I did have cord damage and the need for my second surgery. So far so good on that. It is not a big deal, just remember to try and relax as they are placing needles. Good luck.
  • don't bother me at all (too many tattoos for that , lol) and I have a high tolerance for pain (usually) so I am not worried about that , I guess I was more or less concerned about any aches and pains after wards. Also , what if the tests tell them nothing is wrong? Then what do you do....where do you look next? Thanks again for any input.... :)
  • Hi Priestess,

    My hubby had a mylogram less tha a year ago and this is what it was like.

    It was hard for him to lay down on the table for that long because of his back pain. I dropped him off at 8 am and picked him up at 4 am. They monitor him during that time. After was the hard part. He was told to lie plat on his back for 24hrs and not to move or you can get fluid in your spinal cord, causing a MAJOR headace. He obeyed. But the one thing we did not consider was going pee. We purchased a bottle for him to go in. Even eating was lying flat.It is that important to lie flat for that
    period. I hope this helps!

  • I have had two mylograms and EMG's. One for lower back years ago. Mylogram for my lower back showed that surgery would not help and nothing he could do for me except order nerve block for pain management, so before i started nerve blocks I when to acupunture and that worked.
    Second mylogram for cervical showed the ns eactly where my problem was so he did the ACDF. Same NS ordered and read tests both times.
    I had no after affects both times execpt having to lay in bed for 4 hours after the procedure and use two pillows to sleep that night to keep dye from going to head. Other than that did not notice anything. I was in pain but was same pain i had before test from my herniation. I here some get headaches.
  • am hoping for no after effects as well. I have had ACDF (a year ago this month) but I am suffering from neck , shoulder blade , shoulder , arm and hand pain , all on the right side (the pain got really bad after having an ablation done that did not go well) so that is why I am getting the tests done. My doc said he really didn't want to let this go more than 4-6 weeks before doing something about it. So we will see what the results are and whether or not I am facing more surgery. Hopefully not.... ;)
  • my gracious , your poor hubby , that seems terrible. What a terribly long time to have to lie flat especially when that hurt him to do so. I am truly sorry for him.
  • I had one in April done by a physiatrist, and I was very nervous about it at first. My PCP offered to give me Xanax to calm me down before the test, but I passed so I could drive myself home. Well, it turned out to be pretty easy. I think the sensations you get during the EMG are pretty wierd, and I found it uncomfortable, but itwill be a breeze compared to what you've gone thru!! The needle thing wasn't bad at all! I hear it's a lot like accupuncture (I've never done it.) One interesting thing I found out about my EMG is that different docs seem to interpret the results differently. I had three different opinions from three different docs on the outcome! ---Mazy (thanks for all your help and work on the forum.)
  • EMG is no big deal, but myelogram can be very painful afterwards. I had one done 2 years ago because of the metal in my lumbar spine the MRI was washed out. The pics are vey cool, though I wish it was someone else! Be aware of the headache you can get after. I had a spinal fluid leak and ended up in the ER. If your headache lasts more than a couple of days pester the doc for a blood patch. Sounds creepy but very simple procedure to reseal the spinal canal. Hope you avoid this complication! Best of luck.

  • Hi Mikki, EMG, Not a very pleasant test, but no lingering effects afterwards. It is uncomfortable (needle jabs and little shocks.) But I was pretty curious about the different nerves and how I reacted. So it seemed to go very quickly.

    I was really afraid to have the myelogram. I had just gone through a spinal fluid leak and horrible headache for weeks from a failed cervical ESI. But nothing that eventful happened from the myelgram. The dye was injected at L3-L4, with a local anesthetic injected first. I could still feel it though. It was sore for a week or so at the injection site, but not bad. This test shows every nerve and the dr will know exactly where your problem is. Good luck with it! Hugs and prayers, Marti
  • Hey Miki,
    Sorry to hear you need to go through these test and the nerve deal didn't work for you. As far as pain goes the Emg i have had three of them but the last I only felt in the hands but couldn't feel them going all the way up. The little bit of pain i felt was very short lived. I was more pissed he gave me the results but wouldn't explain what it meant. Myelogram I have had two of them done. The first was done after the first surgery and I didn't think it was any big deal. The doc let me go within the hour and just had to lay flat for the next 24 hours other than getting up for the restroom. However number 2 was a bit different story. First the priest came in and prayed with me no big deal well yeah scarred me. But the the radiologist came and seen me and I said I would be ok without meds and she said no you won't and ordered me up some pain pills and waited them out to get in system. Anyway I'm so glad she ordered those i thought even with them i was going to pass out on the table from the pain and i was so incredible dizzy had nothing to do with the injection though. It was the angel that they needed my neck to see what the surgeon's was suspecting. After that test they put me on a four hour hold with no movement. I certainly feel for you thinking what if they don't find the pain. I was going through the same type of thinking. Anyway what was causing the problems was discovered and have recently gone through surgery to hopefully resolve the problem. So I your in a lot of pain during the procedure then think positive they found the pain generator...just kidding. Take care and let us know when the test are and how you make out with them and the results.
  • Sorry Miki, have not had either of these test. Just wanted to wish you luck and hope every thing goes well.
  • all so much for taking the time to respond , I really appreciate it. I am ready to have these tests done so that my doc can figure out what the heck is wrong and how to fix it. I am tired of the ever increasing pain....I went shopping with my hubby last night and all of a sudden I had pain shoot down my arm from the shoulder to the elbow , it literally took my breath away it hurt so bad. It finally subsided after a few hours and has left an achy feeling in it's wake. Oh what joy it would be to get all of this taken care of and if I have to do these tests to get the ball rolling then bring 'em on I say. Thanks again everybody... :)
  • Could this be the start of another road trip? ;)
  • am ALWAYS up for a road trip....now if you would get your butt back over on this side of the world then I would come see you again....me and Jessi minus the PPE ofcourse... :D
  • Must have the PPE though!!! That's part of the nostalgia. PPE, Pancakes and BBQ ribs!
  • is sounding better and better!!!!!!!!!!! :)
  • I had an EMG on Wednesday. Like the others said, it wasn't that bad. A physiatrist performed mine, with a med student looking on. SHe did the zapping part first, took a bunch of measurements of my arm, put some electrodes on me and then zapped me. The zaps weren't too bad, some were worse than others, but nothing really bad. She said some old timers really crank up the juice and it is really painful. She said during training they zapped each other so they know what it feels like! I thought that was funny, and a great idea. They are less likely to crank it up if they know what it feels like.

    THe second part of the test was the needles, much more uncomfortable (at least for me)! I layed on my stomach, and she cleaned my neck with anticeptic. Then she stuck me 3 times on each side of my neck. She jiggled the needle as she put it in. The needles are connected to wires, and after the needles were in she pressed a button and the sound of my muscle filled the room. Then she pushed down on the needle a little bit. It was definately wierd. After the neck she stuck me a few times in hand and elbow area on the right and left sides. That wasn't as bad as the neck.

    She said the neck area might be sore for a while afterwards, or I might still feel the needle in my neck. I didn't have any lasting discomfort. The others are right, the needles are about the size of accupucture needles, about 27 gauge.

    The test from start to finish was about 45mins. My test results showed no nerve damage, but some muscle spasms in my arm and neck. It is a valuable test, and on the scale of uncomfortableness from 1 to 10 I would give it a 3.

    Good luck!
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