Penn Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Electrodiagnostic Medicine

Electrodiagnostic medicine includes nerve conduction testing and electromyography as part of an evaluation by one of our physiatrists with special skills in this area of medicine. This testing involves measuring the electrical activity of muscles and nerves to determine if there is nerve injury or damage. Persons undergoing such testing typically have numbness, pain or weakness and the physiatrist evaluates for the underlying cause of such symptoms. Common reasons for referral for electrodiagnostic consultation include low back pain, neck pain or hand symptoms that may be due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Persons with suspected nerve injuries due to limb trauma are often referred for this testing.

Electrodiagnostic medicine is used to diagnose a variety of neuromuscular disorders. The examination usually takes 20 to 60 minutes and there are no restrictions on activity before or after the testing. Our skilled physicians are board certified or board eligible and have completed specialized medical training and education in this area of medicine.

Conditions Diagnosed with Electrodiagnostic Medicine

Electrodiagnostic medicine aids in diagnosing a variety of neuromuscular disorders such as:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Nerve complications
  • Radiculopathy (pinched nerve in the neck or back)
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Myasthenia gravis

A physician may order electrodiagnostic testing if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Nerve pain and tingling
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasms

Types of Electrodiagnostic Tests

There are two types of electrodiagnostic tests:

  • Electromyogram (EMG) A small, thin needle is inserted into several muscles. Electrical signals travel from the needle into an EMG machine and a physician will determine if there are any abnormalities.
  • Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) A physician will apply small electrical currents to nerves to determine how well the body's electrical signals are traveling and whether or not there are any abnormalities.

Find a Physician

Meet our team of Penn Medicine physicians that specialize in electrodiagnostic medicine. To request an appointment use our online form or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to schedule an appointment.