What are ncs and emg tests in neuropathy?

Written by valerie dansereau
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Electrodiagnostic medicine is a way of studying nerve and muscle diseases, including neuropathy. Tests used to diagnose and monitor neuropathy include nerve conduction study and electromyography.

Diagnosing Peripheral Neuropathy

It can be difficult to diagnose peripheral neuropathy because symptoms can vary. Your doctor will complete a thorough neurological exam. He will review your medical history including symptoms, family history of neurological diseases and exposure to toxins or alcohol.


Your doctor may order an NCS and EMG if you're experiencing tingling, numbness, weakness, pain or muscle cramping. These tests are usually done together.

Nerve Conduction Study

An NCS checks how quickly impulses travel between nerves. Small electrical shocks are applied to a nerve to determine how the nerve works.


An EMG is a test that helps assess muscle function. It's done by inserting a fine needle into muscles, which measures the electrical activity in the muscles. It can help your doctor differentiate between muscle and nerve disorders.


Before having an NCS/EMG, let your doctor know if you have bleeding problems or if you're on any medication, particularly blood thinners. Your skin should be clean and free of any lotions or oils. Testing takes approximately an hour.

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