One of the many tests that your neurologist may want to perform after you got into a workplace incident or car accident is an EMG/NCV testing. EMG/NCV technically consists of two tests. Gaining a deeper knowledge of this testing will help you understand the importance of having it done.
EMG and NCV tests are typically mentioned together, as it is common for neurologists to complete them at the same time. That said, they are separate tests which tell us different information.
EMG testing stands for electromyography testing. This test measures the degree to which your muscles successfully respond to the nerve signals that your brain sends. Those nerve signals tell your muscles when to move.
During this test, your doctor will insert a thin needle electrode into your muscle. An oscilloscope will record the muscle’s movements when you contract and relax it. Your doctor may also use a speaker to listen to the test results. Expect the entire test to take between 30 and 90 minutes.
A nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test is also referred to as NCS, which stands for nerve conduction study. Your nerve signals are a type of electrical impulse that goes through the nervous system. Issues with the nerves’ electrical activity can lead to tingling, weakness, or pain in your muscles. The NCS measures the speed and strength of a nerve’s electrical activity.
During this test, your doctor will apply electrodes in patches on the skin over the nerve. The electrodes dispense low-level electricity, which stimulates the nerve. The test measures the velocity of the electrical signal flowing.
If your doctor sees any issues in the results of your EMG test, you may have a neuromuscular disorder. Issues in an NCV test can indicate nerve damage.
Together, the combination of EMG/NCV after a motor vehicle accident or workplace injury helps your doctor determine if your issues are nerve-related or muscular. The tests can also help determine the cause of nerve damage. Once you start treatment, it can measure the progress of that treatment.
EMG/NCV testing can help your doctor diagnose issues such as:
Some of those nerve issues can occur as a result of a car accident or workplace injury.
There are some important ways that EMG/NCV after car accidents or work-related injuries can help.
Conducting EMG/NCV after work-related injuries or car accidents helps neurologists diagnose underlying issues. After neurologists complete the tests, they will know whether your injuries are related to nerves or muscles. Additionally, in the case of nerve damage, they will be able to pinpoint the problem area.
These tests assist with diagnostics in several ways, including confirming the general diagnosis, excluding other diagnoses, and localizing the problem. They can also help determine the severity of the problem, pinpoint the affected nerve, give prognostic information, and find subclinical disease.
The diagnosis is essential, as you cannot begin treatment without a proper diagnosis. Getting as many details as possible during the diagnosis phase also allows your neurologist to personalize your treatment to meet your needs best.
Given that there is an average of 2.8 injuries for every 100 full-time workers in the United States, workers’ compensation insurance companies will do what they can to fight paying for your treatment. Not only do EMG/NCV tests help by providing diagnostics, but they do so in an objective manner. Both tests deliver measurable results, which eliminate any subjective biases. Objective testing is widely regarded as being the most reliable.
By providing objective results, EMG/NCV tests can also provide proof to support your claims when you need your treatment covered by workers’ compensation or no-fault insurance.
When Your Neurologist Will Suggest EMG/NCV Testing?
Every situation is different, but your neurologist is likely to suggest an EMG/NCV testing after any car accident or workplace injury that could have damaged your nerves.
Neurologists are even more likely to suggest these tests if you show any symptoms of nerve problems. These include numbness, continuous tingling, reduced sensation, muscle weakness or spasms, burning sensations, radiating pain, and peripheral neuropathy. If you have issues with day-to-day tasks and pain and numbness in the arms, back, legs, shoulders, or neck, you will also undergo EMG/NCV testing.
Board Certified Neurologist
Neurologist + PT, Chiro