You perceive pain due to the natural electrical activity always present in your body. From the tips of your toes to the top of your head, your sensory nerves send electrical information back to your brain, where it registers as sensations. Your motor nerves then send electrical signals back to your muscles, causing physical motion in response.
If you suffer from chronic pain due to an injury or illness, an experienced professional can learn important information about your physical condition by examining your internal electrical signals.
The compassionate care team at South Texas Spinal Clinic takes your pain condition seriously. We use every tool available to provide you with a diagnosis and steps toward developing a pain management treatment plan. Here's what should know about the potential of electrodiagnostic testing to help you progress in managing your condition and eventually relieving your pain.
Checking for electrical activity
With electrodiagnostic testing, we measure the speed and degree of your body's electrical activity. This information can help us better understand the nature of your current pain. The two most commonly used types of test are electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS).
An EMG checks for electrical activity in your muscles, giving us information about the nerves in your arms and legs. We use delicate needles to register your body's electrical activity as you tense and relax your muscles during an EMG, tracking your results on a monitor display screen.
We often use an NCS alongside your EMG, checking for normal nerve function. For this test, we tape electrode wires to your skin, following the path of the nerve we want to check. An electrical pulse travels through the wire, and we measure the speed as it reaches points along your nerve. This information can help us determine the location of your specific problem, as well as check for progress during a course of treatment.
Your test typically takes less than an hour to complete, so you won't have to give up a big chunk of your day for your appointment. You can usually see your results right away.
The insertion of needles for an EMG can come with a little discomfort, but you don't need to worry about serious side effects or recovery time after testing. The stimulation involved in an NCS can feel mildly shocking, like a light static shock.
Am I a good candidate for electrodiagnostic testing?
Electrodiagnostic testing provides a minimally invasive, non-surgical path to treatment for many types of chronic pain conditions. An accurate diagnosis can also help you avoid dependency on opioid pain medications.
We recommend electrodiagnostic testing for patients with pain concerns ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to a recent injury or effects relating to diabetes. This type of testing may not be right for you if you take blood-thinning medications, or are currently ill or at risk for contracting an infection.
If you're struggling to cope with chronic pain, including back pain and neck pain, get back into action with the help of electrodiagnostic testing at South Texas Spinal Clinic. Our convenient offices, located throughout the San Antonio and South Texas area, support new and existing patients dealing with chronic and acute pain conditions.
To find out if you could be a good candidate for electrodiagnostic testing, schedule a consultation with a member of our staff. You can book your appointment over the phone, or with the online tool.