Welcome to the torture table of EMG and Nerve Conduction Tests

by Molly
(McLean, VA)

I just survived the combo EMG/Nerve Conduction test, and it was both worse than I thought it would be and not as bad as I feared. Let me explain. I have had the classic carpal tunnel symptoms of numbness and tingling in both hands, with a bonus of very painful tendonitis in my left, dominant hand.

A cortisone shot helped the tendonitis for a few months but the pain came back after I lifted my grandchild's 16 pounds for a week (I'm 59 years old).

Hounded by my sister who had successful carpal tunnel surgery in both hands, I decided I needed the emg/nc test to see what's going on with my hands. The nerve conduction test was done with electrodes, no needles, so there wasn't sharp pain. Just a really creepy electrical pulse running through your hand. Over and over and over again. I think it went on for about 15 minutes per hand. It's like hitting your funny bone over and over again. And it didnt hurt any more on the left, sensitive hand than the right. So far so good.

Then the doctor came in with the needles for the EMG test. Now that was painful and messy. Needles stuck into my muscles about 4 or 5 times in each arm, and then you flex your muscles. Hurts more in the hands than in the upper arm. Left me with blood spots and big bruises up and down my arms.

But let me say this - it wasn't as bad as a trip to the dentist for some procedure. Actually, after I left the office, it occurred to me that I felt like I'd been with amateur, jovial torturers. Just some light pain and creepy sensations. And I felt like a pin cushion for about 24 hours. And in case you're wondering, the doctor confirmed carpal tunnel
in both hands, with my left hand having "one of the worst cases" he'd ever seen.

But he said most patients were successful with splints and therapy and usually avoided surgery. We'll see.....


Joshua Answers:

Hi Molly.

Thanks for sharing!

A jolly amateur torturer. I like that. :)

So, you had some Carpal Tunnel Symptoms on one side and Tendonitis (see: What Is Tendonitis on the other.

And they tested each side, and came back with a Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis on each side.

Ok, cool.

And they set you up with a Wrist splint and brace, told you to Rest, take Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen, etc?

Did they mention anything about carpal tunnel symptoms coming from compression up at the front of the neck/chest/shoulder?

Anyhoo, what exactly are you doing now to try to avoid surgery? You don't have to answer, of course, but I have a great curiosity about this kind of thing.

See Related: Thank God If You've Never Had A Nerve Conduction Test

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Jan 22, 2012
More pain after the hand study than before
by: Laurie

The nerve conduction test was definately not fun, but not that horrible either. It is now 1 week after the test though and I am having much more pain in my hands (at least 100% worse then before the test)and it is very difficult to use them-and the pain keeps me awake at night-unbearable.

I haven't seen much about others having this experience and supposedly there are no side effects or negative effects of having the study. (mine showed carpral tunnel in both hands)

Not sure what to do now-I feel like something happened during the testing.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Laurie.

The official story is that there are no side effects or potential downsides, but there are.

If your body isn't working properly, which it's not when there's electrical dysfunction, nerve and muscle pain, nutritional deficiency etc, then the pain, sensation, and current added to the body by the nerve conduction test can make things worse.

If you have more pain after a nerve conduction test, regardless of whether you have tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, you still need to do all the RIGHT things to get rid of nagative factors causing your pain.

For example, see: Magnesium for Tendonitis

Mar 06, 2012
Make it stop! Bruising and increased pain from nerve conduction study
by: Heidi

I just had a nerve conduction study for carpel tunnel (which was negative). The shocks were horrendously painful (and I have a high pain tolerance). I think my brain has blocked out the session with the needle afterwards.

I staggered out wondering what century I was in, bleeding from several needle holes. It was a bit sore for 2 days, with one nickel sized bruise near my elbow from a hematoma. Then 2 nights later I woke up with a bruise from my palm down my wrist, about 6 inches! And pain.

Now, nights later, the pain is radiating up into my shoulder from my wrist. I can't sleep - the pain just seems to be ratcheting up - and ibuprofen no longer touches it.

All of this from a test to make sure my tendonitis in the wrist wasn't cts. I'm beginning to worry about whether this escalation will continue!


Joshua Comments:

Hi Heidi.

Yikes, that's not the most pleasant experience in the world....thanks for sharing.

For whatever reason, your body is not happy with all that....it isn't dealing with the extra juice the test shot into you.

The increased pain etc makes sense. Get some electrolytes into you: Lots of Magnesium, some potassium, etc.

See: Magnesium Dosage

If your body doesn't have enough of the right building blocks, it literally can't handle the extra energy.

As far as the bruising....are you generally anemic? That makes sense, in a nutritional deficiency context (iron and/or magnesium and/or Vitamin D and/or Vitamin B8 and B12, all of the above, etc).

My first focus for you: Nutrition, pronto.
My second is, ice dipping the entire forearm (See: How To Reduce Inflammation).

Apr 27, 2012
Exacerbated CTS and increased pain from previous ulnar vein damage after EMG/NCT
by: Donna

I had an EMG Nerve Conduction Test today. My doctor was very comforting and was very good at explaining what he was going to do next.

It did help my anxiety, but it didn't change the fact the there was a lot of discomfort from the shocks and the needle sticks. I had an ulnar vein damage and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that lasted for 3 weeks. It has been gone for a week prior to having the EMG/NCT.

However, after the test, it feels like the pain from my CTS and Ulnar vein damage is coming back. Same arm, same pain, same site. I understand that it was necessary to complete the test to find out what is causing the tingling/ numbness of my feet and hands.

Is it possible for the NCT to trigger the CTS pain?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Donna.

It is ENTIRELY possible for a nerve conduction test to make Carpal Tunnel Symptoms worse.

From what you just said, I suspect that you have some significant nutritional issues at play. Both the 'anxiety' as well as the rest.

Carpal Tunnel Symptoms can come from nutritional issues, which the test doesn't not measure nor take into account.

I notice that the people with the greatest negative reaction to the nerve conduction test also suffer from nutritional insufficiency/deficiency.

If the body doesn't have the nutritional building blocks it needs, muscles don't work quite right and the body's electrical system literally can't handle the electrical input from the test. And that causes pain/problem.

1. Get your Vitamin D level tests ASAP.

2. See: Magnesium for Tendonitis

3. See: Carpal Tunnel and Vitamin B6 Deficiency

May 27, 2012
Flew up off table, so painful had to stop test
by: Anonymous

I had an EMG at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. It was done by a student. I kept having to have them stop the test because I couldn't tolerate it.

The other student who was in the room had to leave because he couldn't watch. The supervisor was there though and seemed very annoyed that I was so 'sensitive". My leg kept flying up off the table and the needles into my muscle were painful. He twisted them around, why I don't know.

Afterwards, I had spasms for a time.

Since then, the vein in my leg and foot has been protruding. When I went to the rehab clinic, the doctor said it looks like an occlusion that could have happened from scar tissue due to inflammation. I don't know if it's related to the test, but I didn't have ti before.

I had the test due to a slip and fall with injury to that area, several month prior to the test.


Joshua Comments:

Ouch! Thanks for sharing.

Some bodies are more sensitive than others. Sometimes naturally, sometimes due to nutritional insufficiency/deficiency (if you don't have what the body needs, it can't respond adequately to the extra signal coming in).

And if your muscles tense and stay tense, that makes sense that it'd make veins/arteries stick out/bulge.

Oct 06, 2012
Painful Test and Pain afterwards
by: Ms Dee

I had a nerve test done 2 days ago,and my left arm & right leg keep havin sharp pains. The doctor stuck needles in both legs & both arms,but I felt the greatest amount of pain in my left leg & right arm while testing,I yelled & banged on the wall until she took the needles out of both areas.

Last nite the pain in my right arm woke me up out of my sleep. When I woke up this morning the pain was worse,I could'nt put my arm straight down or turn the faucet on. The bottom side of my left leg is tender and my right calf been having shooting pain.

What is going on?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Ms. Dee.

What's going on? You got stabbed (and assumably electrocuted). Your body didn't like that.

Your body -really- didn't like that. Which means there's been a HUGE hyper-response. Which means, ironically, that you feel more pain and problem.

It also hints that your body is nutritionally insufficient, in that it can't handle the (A. extra electricity and (B. respond in a 'normal' way.

If the body can't bring it'self back to normal, something's out of whack systemically.

Nov 22, 2012
hello, EMG was a full 1hr and a half of writhing pain
by: Anonymous

So what if we had one of these tests done, it was the worst experience of my life, but I am fit and feed myself nutrionaly as I should? This was worse than any root canal or surgery I've ever had. I keep seeing these sites on the internet that say an EMG is a completely painless procedure....it was a full 1hr and a half of writhing pain.


Joshua Comments:

Well, if doctors say it's a completely painless procedure, it certainly must be...right?

Dec 16, 2012
by: Anonymous

Had nerve conduction on back of neck,still hurts and knot where i was stuck.

Dec 17, 2012
is EMG necessary
by: Anonymous

I have MS. I have been having tingling in my legs at night. My Nuero wants me to do an EMG. From what I am reading you seem to have more pain after than before. Doesn't seem to be any medicine except a pain killer for it.

I feel like there is really no reason for me to have one. Being that it only bugs me at night in bed before I go to sleep. I think having the EMG is no benefit to me. Am I being too picky?

Feel as if I am just being a guiena pig for nothing.
I don't have carpal or diabetes.
I will understand if I don't get a response.


Joshua Comments:

Hi AnonyMS.

Yeah, I'm on the same page there with you. If you for sure have MS, then what's the point of an EMG?

Plus, if you nervous system has electrical issues, and you get an EMG, there's a likelyhood that you're REALLY not going to like the experience.

I'm curious if you actually have MS, or if you just have nutritional deficiency symptoms thatlook like MS.

Jan 07, 2013
Bilateral Carpal Tunnel nerve conduction test
by: Connie C.

Hook me up to an EMG -- hilarity ensues.

I bet the neurologist never woke up this morning to the notion of having a patient like me darken his doorway. We shook hands and made introductions. Then I hopped up on the table and he hooked me up.

I didn't think it would be all that bad but he zapped me the first time. WOW! Just... WOW. I let out a yelp. Then I started laughing so hard I thought I was gonna pee myself. This startled the poor man so badly. haha!

Zap. Jolt. HAHAHAHA! Zap. Jolt. BAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!*snort* Zap. JOLT! OMYGOD HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Zap. JOLT!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMIEFFINGOD HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!! This went on for about a half hour. Poor guy. He probably thought I was NUTS. :D

Finally the test was complete. He said After that first one, I thought we were done. WHY? (mild surprise) Apparently not all of his patients could handle repeated electrical shocks, and begged off after the first one. Go figure.

He was very very amazed I did not cuss him out once. I only would have reserved that for being in the hands of the enemy and having them jolt me to try to wrench national secrets out of me. "Go F yourself, hahahaha" Nope, he was doing it solely to try to heal. So, I didn't go bananas on him. :)

Grinning ear to ear, we shook hands and I left. I have bilateral carpal tunnel with the right hand being worse than the left one. With possible surgery down the road.

What a turn on :D


Joshua Comments:

Hi Connie. Thanks for sharing! That sounded fun! (To watch, anyway.)

Some nervous systems respond with panic. Some respond with over the top laughter. Either way, I'm glad you survived it.

What's happening with your bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome these days?

Oh, and what was the findings/results of the nerve conduction test?

Jan 07, 2013
2004 hospitalized with Polymyositis and had nerve conduction test
by: Rebecca H

Every test the hospital had in conjunction with this weakness we administered. I could hardly turn over in bed myself and had to pull myself sitting. They wheeled me in bed to this test.

They started with low electrical bursts which made me cry. by the time they hit the height my entire body jumped off the bed. Later they told me that the Dr. who administered the test had never seen readings like this.

I am in remission now in 2012 but I have wide spread pain that they can not explain.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Rebecca.

Yes, when the body's electrical system is out of whack, it DOES NOT LIKE the external stimulus of added electricity from a nerve conduction test.

Do I correctly understand from your short message that all your test results came back showing that there's nothing wrong with you?

Clearly something is. Have they stopped looking?

1. What is your Vitamin D level? If you don't know, please go get a level taken.

Jan 26, 2013
EMG done on hands/wrists/arms and pain in hands
by: Barb

Hi I went to my doctor because of bad pains and numbness in both my hands and wrists at night.
She did bloodwork to confirm I didn't have a b-12 deficiency and to check my electrolytes. Lab results came back normal.

Well, also had to have EMG done yesterday on hands/wrists and forearms to test for carpal tunnel. I should know results next week at my follow up. But my question is how common is it for the hands to constantly hurt after having the EMG done? Like my left hand feels like its been smashed against a car door or something.

Difficult to type or drive with my left hand. Not only discomfort in that hand but right too (I'm right handed) but my pain is not as bad in right hand. Also, when the dr did the needle sticks he only did 2 jabs each side and man they were jabs. On my right ya the needle went right in the vein and I felt like when the doctor did the stick on left side he stabbed me not stuck me... Like he may had well have used a steak knife.

Also how common is a burning sensation like someone rubbed icy hot on my hand?


Joshua Comments:

Why didn't the doctor check for Vitamin B6?

See: Carpal Tunnel and Vitamin B6 Deficiency

A steak knife? Youch!

Nerve conduction test side effects like what you describe is more common that we'd like to think, especially minor or mild symptoms.

Everybody's relationship with pain and stimulus is different, of course, but it is my belief that the post-emg symptoms you experience are ultimately due to a lack of nutrition in the body.

If the body doesn't have what it needs to work right, then that extra pain sensation and electrical current causes more disruption than it should. Thus the smashed hand sensation. Basically, your body couldn't handle the extra electrical current.

Along those lines, see: Thank God If You've Never Had A Nerve Conduction Test

Also, see: My Nerve Conduction Test For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Jan 26, 2013
Diagnosis after emg
by: Anonymous

Well I have been diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel with bad damage to the left hand-- go figure, I'm right handed. So doctor says at my age only surgery will fix this, which I'm for doing what it takes to fix.

I meet with the surgeon next week for a consultation, I just hope for the best. Pain is almost constant in the wrists now day or night.

Difficultly to do the things I love. But it explains why it hurts my hand so much when my ten year old squeezes my hand when she holds it. I just want to be better and get back to life with my three babies.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymom.

I can certainly appreciate your desire to be pain free.

However, I'm curious what the heck your doctor is smoking when he states that 'only surgery will fix this'.

1. Will he guarantee that surgery will fix this?

2. Will he guarantee that surgery won't make it worse?

3. Does he offer a money back guarantee?

4. Did he check even a little bit to see if lack of nutrition is playing a role in your Carpal Tunnel Symptoms?

5. What does 'bad damage' to the hand mean, exactly? Has it been crushed? Cut? Smashed?

Here are some questions you may want to ask the surgeon when you do your consult: Quiz Your Doc

Let me know what s/he says during the Carpal Tunnel surgery consult. I'd be very curious to know.

In the meantime you may want to learn a little bit about Carpal Tunnel and Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Also see: Magnesium For Tendonitis

Also make sure that you understand the mechanisms of the Process of Inflammation and the Pain Causing Dynamic.

Feb 02, 2013
Needles really hurt, had to have me quit the test
by: Ann

I had the needle and the pads. The needle really hurt, especially when he was trying to find the nerve and had to move that needle around in my leg. I had him to quit, I could not stand the pain.

I am sorry if I have scared anyone who may be having to have this done.

Apr 02, 2013
My Experience With Needle EMGs & Nerve Conduction Studies
by: Debbie Cantrell

I was an EMG (electromyography)Tech for approximately 11years. I assisted our hospital's Physiatrist in performing the EMGs & Nerve Conduction Studies. She (the doctor) didn't believe in the needle Nerve Conduction Studies.

With the equipment we had it wasn't necessary. The only time we used a needle was when we performed a needle EMG, with no electric impulses. The only time we used needles & electricity was when we tested for Guillian Barre syndrome.

I had all of these tests performed on myself when I had no health issues & to tell the truth the only uncomfortable test was the one for Guillian Barre syndrome. Toward the end it was becoming hard to endure.

I do want to say that each patient's response to the test is individual to the patient. Some people slept through both tests & then there were some who could not tolerate any of the tests at all.

Even with the intensity of the stimulation at the lowest it could be, some people couldn't tolerate it. So it depends on the patient, the illness that is being tested for & the way the tests are performed.

There are horror stories out there because of the person (doctor or technician) doing the test improperly. Try to find someone who can do the testing with the least invasiveness to the patient.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Debbie.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It's great to hear from a pro.

It makes sense to me that different people with different physical situations will be able to handle the test differently.

Related: Pain From Hell From The Nerve Conduction Test

Related: The Test Almost Made Me Throw Up

Fluoroquinolones like Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox, Ciprofloxacin, etc, deplete the body of various nutrition and seem to put the body into a state where it has a very poor ability to deal with the extra elecrical input of a test (much less the pain from needles etc) Excruciating Nerve Conduction Test After Floxin Side Effects

Nov 12, 2014
by: Anonymous

I had the test done yesterday both needles and electrodes. After reading posts on the net and hearing from others i was terrified of the procedure.

To my surprise i flew through it with hardly any pain. The electrodes was more annoying than anything and the needles hurt less than the flu shot. I

did take the day off of work the next day although i could of went in and bared through the day but the rest will do me good hence i am sore and have a tingly annoying feeling in legs where the test was done.

I had my left leg feet and lower back tested. Not sure of the results yet. So this is for those who have to look forward to this test its not at all as bad as most say but everyone is different.

I have had worse experiences at the dentists. I hope this helps someone else in the future and wish i would of seen a post like this ahead of time. The fear i experienced before the procedure was a waste of energy.

Nov 22, 2014
EMG not that bad
by: Dee

Too all who have to experince a EMG dont let the net or others scare you away. I had one done yesterday and i got through the entire test and I have low pain tolernace.

Well least i used to think so but after i got through the EMG im starting to think different. First they used the electrods with shocks to my legs feet and my lower back on one side then they a flipped me over for the other side. I probalbly obtained less then 10 shocks on each side.

Then they inserted the needle electrods and there wasnt much pain and some of them i didnt even feel. I hate needles to add and think the flu shot hurt worse. My test results are not in yet but i have experience years of lower back pain and recently the legs and feet starting hurting as well.

I am sore today with tingly legs and feet.

Everyone is different but i found this test not as bad as i feared it would be at all. Hopefully now to find some answers and just glad its over. So Im hear to tell everyone dont let the net scare you away or others than had the test that say its horrible.

Its not pleasant but its tolerable and if I needed it again i would be fearless.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Dee.

Thanks for sharing!

How long before the soreness and tingles went away?


See Related: EMG Nerve Conduction Test Not So Bad

See Related: I Won't Lie My Nerve Conduction Test Was Not Pleasant I Have Actually Had This Test Performed 3 Times

Jan 09, 2015
emg/nerve conduction
by: Carrie

Had an appointment with a Neurologist today, but think I was abducted by aliens on my way to the hospital because I ended up in a torture chamber.

I had no idea I was walking into an emg/nerve conduction test (I am always the last to know).

Very uncomfortable, but it sounds like I had it easy compared to the other posters here.

The Tech. was great explaining what he was doing, and answering any questions I had. He was joking the whole time, and apologizing for the discomfort.

He told me if I needed to throw out any words worse than the "holy shit"s I already was, to be his guest. He loved that he had one of two jobs where he could torture people, legally, and get paid for it. No blood from the needles.

Joint and muscle stiffness and pain is why I went in. Half of my left hand/fingers have felt asleep for about 4 years now.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Carrie.

Thanks for sharing!

And yikes, that sounds less than fun.

At least the tech had a good time. :)

So....what are you doing to get rid of the numbness etc?

Mar 07, 2015
3 EMG/Nerve Conduction Tests not bad pain
by: Chris

I have had 3 such tests....two in the last year.

All tests involved "pads" and needles. In my opinion, they are not "difficult" or "uncomfortable" tests for the most part.

A one arm test takes about 25 minutes. Two arms double that time. I certainly would not object to additionally testing if required again....and I would certainly get it within 3 months prior to any surgery so you have a baseline before surgery!

The needle portion of the test (which "listens" to the muscles) is the more uncomfortable portion.

For me, the worse needle location is the fleshy portion of the palm by the thumb. Remnants of the needle location can be felt for maybe 15 minutes after the test.

If you people think such tests are truly uncomfortable, you really have no idea of what a pain scale feels like. On my 0-10 scale, with 0 being no pain and 10 passing out as a result of pain (I've been there a couple times and the body will make you black out when you cant take it anymore) and 9.5 is get my gun as I want to shoot myself, EMG/nerve conductance rates maybe a 4 -5. The nerve conductance portion is simply passing a bit of electrical current through your arm and you feel a small "shock". The EMG is worse.

But seriously, EMG/nerve tests are NOT by an standard an uncomfortable test.

I'd get these performed all day before I have to redo any upper extremity MRI (hand, wrist, forearm, elbow) again without drugs (more below).

The elbow MRI is the worst in my opinion.....just crammed face down into a small tube (such is true with all upper extermity MRIs) and your arm locked in position for 45-50 minutes with some "padding".

After 10 minutes you want out. I have learned however after numerous upper extremity MRIs to take/request 1.0 mg. Xanax and 500 mg Vocdin 1 hour before the scheduled MRI time and now I practically sleep through the MRIs!


Joshua Comments:

Thanks for sharing Chris.

Everybody's pain tolerance is different, and everybodey's physicality and health is different.

There are various scenarios including nutritional insufficiency (as a factor) that the body just can't happily handle that extra current.

Oct 21, 2015
EMG Test
by: Anonymous

I've had carpal tunnel on both hands since the beginning of July. The first week and half of cps, they were excruciatingly painful as my hands throbbed, tingled, burned, and were swollen. After this, when I saw the first 2 hand doctors and did the test where the hands were bent, nothing happened. But the days after seeing them I had the symptoms come back and wore the splints again. Then the symptoms changed to having certain fingers feeling numb, I had to crack my knuckles to get some relief.

After seeing an unhelpful doc, again at the same hospital/clinic, I sought another one outside. This doc said that he noticed atrophy occurring and suggested to begin therapy immediately, which I have. The therapy consists of TENS, ultrasound, and paraffin wax. I don't know if it's helping much since I didn't have much pain to begin with.

2 days ago I went back to see a hand doc (e/a visit is a diff doc) back at the hospital (after 2 months) and told him of the therapy I was doing, did the bending wrist test where I felt slight tingles on my left fingertips with nothing on the right. He didn't notice the atrophy though, which was weird to me. Later he asked me if I wished to continue wearing splints, or if I was tired and wanted relief, then I could the test done to see if surgery is an option.

Yesterday I had the emg test done by a doctor but the only excruciating part was the needle on the hands, where he twisted this way and that, and at one point I felt him push a muscle. He did test my neck which I didn't understand. Throughout the test he murmured 'good' except at 2 parts where he stayed silent. After, there was much blood on my right hand than I expected. I thought I was done till the senior doc there asked to test my pinky fingers again with the shocks.

Ever since yesterday afternoon I keep having tingles on my left hand non stop when I'm not doing anything. At one point a muscle rippled above the elbow, which has never occurred before. Now I don't know if the test did more harm than good. I did have anemia due to iron deficiency 2 months ago and supposedly I went back to normal after taking pills.

Now I'm rethinking if surgery really is an option at this time...


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

1. What exactly would the surgeon do? See the Quiz Your Doc link in this thread, for questions to ask.

2. Tightness up at the neck and shoulder can/does compress the nerves down the arm, like stepping on a hose.

3. The pinkie finger was tested to see if it's a carpal tunnel thing (thumb and first two fingers) or a cubital tunnel thing (pinke and next to last finger).

4. Doctors like to consider that EMG test find nerve 'damage'. But really, it's jsut reduced nerve flow from tight muscles compressing nerves.

Remove the tightness, and everything gets better.

Of course, lack of nutrition can and does play a big part.

If you're short on nutrition, the extra impulse from the test and throw your electrical system off a little bit, thus the post test symptoms you describe.

Nov 24, 2015
NCS permanently damaged dominant hand
by: Anonymous

A nerve conduction study with electrodes strapped to my wrist caused excruciating, severe pain when the electrical impulse was applied, and the technician would not stop despite my protests and screaming in pain.

My hand became what I call "The Claw" and I have not had full use of it after more than four years. I saw several hand surgeons, a neurosurgeon and other specialists, and found out it cannot ever be fixed.

I was not given any orientation about what to expect before the test was administered, and the technician, I later found out, had very little experience at the time she gave me the test.

Other MD specialists in the same field said they would NEVER delegate an NCS to be performed by a technician on any of their patients, and that is why they do not know how it could have happened to me, other than by an unskilled, training-lacking tech.

Do not ever let anyone except the doctor perform this testing on you. I will be disabled for life from the test, and it is very difficult to prove that it happened from the NCS. It is an expensive test, and my opinion is if your insurance covers it, and you do not believe you have carpal tunnel syndrome (I did not and do not have CTS), do not allow anyone to give you this test!

It ruined my life. If that's not strong enough evidence to avoid it, I do not know what is.

I have random, unbearable spasms in hand, wrist and forearm, all the way to my neck. If that's how you, too, want to feel all day every day, then have a nerve conduction study, especially if you NEVER needed it, and make sure an unexperienced technician gives it to you. That's what I (unknowingly) did. Now I can barely handwrite.

Dec 02, 2015
Numbness in feet after EMG
by: Anonymous

Hello, has anyone else suffered from pins and needles and numbness in feet after a lower extremity EMG. I had the test done and almost immediately have been suffering with numbness.

Thank you.

Dec 21, 2015
Pain after EMG test
by: Sherri

I had an EMG nerve test for carpal tunnel syndrome 5 days ago because of severe pain in my left wrist along with numbness etc on both sides.

I was told I have CTS and the right side is worse (I'm right handed) . Also that the wrist pain in the left side might be arthritis (I'm 54). I had an EMG about 5 years ago and was told I have fibromyalgia.

My question is: My right hand didn't hurt until after the test, and now I am having awful painful spasms. I have no deficiencies. My EMG included needles.

Is this temporary? Should I tell my Dr?

Is it just because of the fibromyalgia that I am experiencing this?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Sherri.

1. YOu were diagnosed with Fibromyalgia from a EMG test?

2. If you have fibromyalgia, you have insufficiency/deficiency issue.

3. If you have pain etc from an EMG, then it's safe to say that your body can't happily handle the extra electrical impulse the test added in.

4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrom is reversible.

5. Is the left side arthritis? If so, why do you have arthritis there? (that's a rhetorical question, the answer is: because of chronic tightness that compresses the joint(s), chronic inflammation, and nutritional lack).

5. You could tell your doctor about the post EMG symptoms, but s/he isn't going to have anything helpful to say about it (of if s/he did I'd be very surprised and would be curious what the response was).

Jan 13, 2016
Pain and other sensations after NCS and EMG in my arm
by: De

So, I was rearended in a car accident 4 months ago, had a concussion and neck/arm pain with numbness and weakness.

Today I had an MRI of my neck which shot my head pains and symptoms back up to where I was about 2 months ago.

Then I went to another room for the NCS which I'd heard was less than pleasant. Less than pleasant my a$$!!!! Then immediately had the EMG.

My arm and hand are numb, cold, hot, tingly, weak, achy, you name it. I had no idea really what to expect. It's been 2 1/2 hours since I left the office. It is an experience I would not wish on anyone. My arm, neck and head had begun to calm down a bit prior to these tests, and now I'm feeling incapacitated and frustrated and angry. From what I read you can be sedated for this????

Why the he££ wasn't I offered that! I have fibromyalgia (diagnosed in 1997) so obviously I have sensitive nerves!!!! Not that I want the results to be anything bad, but I sure as s#;t hope these tests show something worthwhile that can be treated.

Apr 02, 2016
conduction after machine turned off
by: Anonymous

quick question...

so...had emg done to determine cause of lack of strength and spasticity in rt arm.

This is following rehabilitation from a acdf from c5-c7. Removing 2 discs and one vertebra and a partial vertebrectomy.

Dr says cant see any further damage.

Following removal of the needles and the turning off of the machine about 15 sec later my forearm, wrist and hand began to have strong electrical like impulses? Huh...dr was like wtf? don't think he believed me.

idk. says he thinks I have thoracic outlet syndrome? but why the impulses following? anyone ever experience this? thanks


Joshua Comments:

1. Electricity was introduced into your system.

2. Our bodies are all electrical, really.

3. You are short on various nutrition.

4. Without enough of various nutrition, your body A. can't work right, thus partly responsible for the pain/problems you got the test for and B. can't hande the new electricity input into the system (basically).

May 12, 2016
by: Anonymous

can any one tell me what it means if you couldn't tolerate the emg (needle part) i have a high pain thresh hold but was in tears at the beginning of the needle test and couldn't continue with it.

Jun 02, 2016
Why i don't agree with nerve conduction test
by: Sabriana

The first time i had a nerve conduction test was for a wrist pain, which i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

I do not remember if it was neurology, pain management, or orthopedic who did it. They hooked me up to probes on my wrist and arms, and gradually increased the volts. When they were done I was in more pain than before they started.

The same day they wanted to do it again with another doctor or resident doctor. Stupid me sat there and allowed them to do it, until i could not take it anymore. I told them that was enough.

I don't recommend it. Now I have a workers compensation injury bi-lateral tendonitis in the elbows radiating down to my wrists, hands and fingers.

The orthopedic doctor I no longer see wanted me to have one done. They push pain pills that don't work, inflammation meds, that don't work. I have been told there is nothing wrong. Who would know better if something is wrong than myself.

I don't believe the orthopedic doctors I no longer see know what they are doing. The rheumatologist I had who specialized with my illness and injury of fibromyalgia and tendonitis said the orthopedic doctors were not qualified to diagnose this injury. He did not agree with anything they had to say. I really liked this rheumatologist.

My problem now is there are no rheumatologist who deal with this injury and fibromyalgia in upstate New York. When they misdiagnose me and write bad information in my medical files it makes getting my workers compensation case settled.

Four years later i find out that the medical paperwork I picked up and took to the attorneys they never submitted them to workers comp. How rotten? But I am a fighter and am advocating for myself.

May 28, 2017
Still some pain 1.5 years later
by: Frank

The tests went ok, but I think the neurologist hit a nerve with one of the needles in my right lower arm.

I had a strange pain in my ring finger and my lower right arm for over 1 month after the test. Especially if I used it.

Now, 1.5 years later I still feel the nerve pain and it sometimes radiates to the inner biceps, a bit as if I hit my funny bone.

Also, often when I lift something and twist my lower arm there's a sharp pinch in my lower arm in the place where the needle was inserted... as if there's something that flicks against the nerve every time I do the movement.

Another thing: The pain gets worse if I drink coffee.

Any ideas what's going on? And why it doesn't heal? Is there some scar tissue inside impinging on the nerve? Or is the nerve injured? And what's with the coffee?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Frank.

1. If a needle hit's a nerve (big or tiny), that can be long term if not permanently problematic.

In this case, yes, injury.

2. If the needle damages connective tissue on/RIGHT next to nerve, then scar tissue forms, and scar tissue pulls tissue together.....so when you flex/move connective tissue can pull on the scar tissue that pulls on the nerve/nerve wrapping just right to cause a jolt of something.

In this scenario, yes scar tissue pulling/inpinging.

3. The only thing I can think of with the coffee thing, along with that coffee depletes nurition (but that probably wouldn't effect you only when/right after you're drinking coffee), is that coffee long story short makes things tighter (vasoconstriction). See #2, basically.

Jul 10, 2017
Nerve conduction tests after fluoroquinolone cipro levaquin
by: Tammy

I have had 3 Nerve conduction tests over the last three years since I was Floxed.

I was almost electrocuted when I was 8 and its super brutal for me.

How ridiculous for these doctors doing this and not recognizing the real cause of nutrition deficiency. Kerri and Joshua are my hero's.

Jul 27, 2017
Couldn't Bear the Sensory Evoked Potentials test or the EMG test
by: Rosilyn Bullock

I am worried in that a few weeks back I could only complete about half of the EMG test as the electric impulses were getting stronger and stronger and I have pins and needles in my left hand and fingers.

I thought the needle, even though it was jabbed all over my arm and twirled around the inside of my elbow was much easier for me to bear, even though I was bruised afterwards.

My problem is that I went back today for the Sensory Evoked Potentials Test which is almost the same as the EMG test, but the moment I had one electric shock I knew I couldn't stand anymore and had to walk away, to which the Nurse said "so shall I put in the notes you've refused treatment".

Can anything, i.e. possibly carpal tunnel syndrome be diagnosed with half an EMG test, and the whole of the needle test but without a Sensory Evoked Potentials Test. Can anyone answer this question please. Thank you.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Rosilyn.

Did you point out to the nurse the the test was not a treatment so you weren't refusing treatment?

*shakes head*

It bugs me...the medical system sometimes.

For instance, they want testing testing testing, with so much emphasis on diagnosis (which is good for insurance billing but not particularly helpful for fixing the problem).

Which is great, but, why? Meaning, what is your symptomology?

If it is carpal tunnel syndrome, symptoms are either coming from the wrist or up at the neck/shoulder. Simple to figure out without any emg type testing.

So. Why are you getting tested? What are your symptoms?

Jul 29, 2017
Diagnosis at last
by: Rosilyn B.

Hi Joshua,

Thank you for your reply, I think this blog is marvellous. I should have pointed out I was not refusing treatment.

Anyway I went to my GP today and it appears I do have carpal tunnel syndrome.

I go to the Pain Clinic next week and see a Neurosurgeon early September.

Then I have to decide if I want an injection that will only last six months or an operation.

Then I have to decide if I dare take a typing job again. Thanks again Joshua for your reply.

Rosilyn B.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Rosilyn.

"GP today and it appears I do have carpal tunnel syndrome. "

Why, exactly?

"or an operation"

Where, exactly?

"if I want an injection that will only last six months"

A corticosteroid injection? Why will that work/work for 6 months? If inflammation is a problem, why exactly is there inflammation?

Jul 31, 2017
Reply to Joshua
by: Rosilyn B.

Why they diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome I don't know except that this problem started at work with pins and needles, too much typing, and bad work station.

I just know I can have some sort of injection, whether it's cortisone or not, I'm not sure, apparently it lasts for six months.

It may be in my neck, I don't know I'm not an expert I would have to ask about this at the Pain Clinic tomorrow.

I didn't mention inflammation. As I say I'm not an expert but if I can have a carpal tunnel syndrome operation I will do.

As I say I see the Pain Clinic tomorrow and the Neurosurgeon on the 8th September. Until I speak to them I won't know my options. I won't type more as it's so painful for me.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Rosilyn.

I get that you're not an expert, nobody is until it becomes relevant.

I would urge you to become more of an expert...because while people tend to think that surgery will fix everything, and that when the doctor says the shot will help for 6 months.....it's my experience that it doesn't usually go that way.

And you'll be less happy if surgery makes things worse.

Thus 'why' is an important question. If they do surgery on the wrist (which is not a minor thing) but your pins and needles are from up at the neck/shoulder....you can see how that might not go so well.

If your symptoms are from Vit B6 insufficiency/deficiency...you can see how surgery may not fix that, nor a shot help.

If they want to do a cortisone injection, how exactly will that help? If the answer is "It will reduce inflammation," that's great if it does, but what is causing the inflammation (which is the real cause that needs to be remedied).

Here are some questions to ask the doctor(s) tomorrow: Quiz Your Doctor

Let me know what they say.

Aug 02, 2017
by: Rosilyn B.

Hello Joshua,

Well I went to the Pain Clinic at the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery in London yesterday, and after more physical tests it was decided to give me a steroid nerve root block injection as the irritation was at C6 and C7.

I took along all your questions to ask on "Quiz your Doctor", and as you suggested I asked if this was due to inflammation.

The Doctor got quite irritated and said "irritation, inflammation, what's the difference"!!!! You have to realise this is England and we don't pay for treatment here.

Whilst I agree it IS important to get as much information as possible there is only so much time a Consultant can spend with you.

I can, however, ring the Clinical Nurse Specialist at any time if I need more information. I signed a consent form there and then but actually have loads of time to think about this injection as the next appointment for me would be January (the procedure here is you ring - every day if you want to find out cancellation appointments). I now need time to think about this.

I have now started worrying all over again as my friend last night said the injection was so painful she would never have it again.

They just use a local anaesthetic to inject the areas of skin and tissue that the needle passes through. They say the local anaesthetic often causes some temporary numbness, tingling or heaviness of the limb but these will wear off by the time I get home. They say they don't usually give sedation but I'm wondering if I would be better having this after my friend last night said what an awful injection it was!

The booklet states also all the risks involved. It does state they perform 500 procedures every year and they have not had any patient suffer serious unwanted effects for more than a few days. Obviously there is a risk of infection.

The one sentence I didn't like is "The chances of developing a serious complication after a nerve root injection are not fully known, but are probably similar to those of an epidural injection". It also said potential serious complications include needle damage to the spinal cord or nerves, bleeding and compression of the spinal cord or a build up of infection.

All these complications can result in nerve damage causing weakness, numbness, paralysis or increased pain, which may be permanent and very difficult to treat effectively. It also says a contrast agent is sometimes used to enhance the X-Ray images and can also cause unwanted effects. The most common effect is a tingling sensation in hands, face and feet as people can have an allergic reaction to the contrast agent. Of course I realise they have to tell you the worst case scenario to cover themselves.

Hence I am worried now about the possible risks, and the pain involved in the injection, but don't feel I can live with these perpetual pins and needles I've already had for 8 months, which are spoiling my life and impossible to go back to work.

I wondered what your views on the above are.

Kind regards.

Rosilyn B.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Rosilyn.

My thoughts are:

1. If the doctor doesn't care about the difference between irritation and inflammation, why does he think an injection is a good idea?

2. What exactly is the nerve block going to to for you? Meaning, how exactly is it going to fix the problem?

3. Because, what IS the problem? (Doctors don't ask that question, unfortunately. Thus their ability to fix the problem is rather iffy.)

4. Risks, certainly a possibility.

5. What kind of irritation at C6-7? Is it from compression? Then remove the factors causing the compression (tight muscles/connective tissue, basically).

Aug 07, 2017
In answer to your last questins
by: Rosilyn Bullock

1. I wish I knew the answer to question no. 1, they don't know that it will definitely fix a trapped or nerve impingement, but this is a Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia in a Pain Clinic.

I found it very difficult to ask a lot of questions as I got a snappy answer to just trying to clarify whether it was irritation or inflammation as you'd suggested. This is a National Health Service Department with a six months waiting list which is free. I may see if I can afford to go privately. I need to see how much this would be.

2. From what I can see the nerve root block injection should get rid of the pain. I've known people where the pain doesn't come back at all, but again this is not guaranteed.

3. The problem seems to be a nerve impingement at C6 and C7 according to the MRI findings - bilateral narrowing of exit foramina.

Aug 08, 2017
Carpal Tunnel Surgery wasn't a good idea
by: Barbara

I had the carpal tunnel release surgery on both wrists about 4 years ago, about a month apart.

I had a lot of pain and I thought that the surgeries would help. They did, but only temporarily.

Today I still get pains, sometimes unbearable.

But what I hate the most is that I feel like I've lost a lot of strength in my hands.

Doing what I love the most is drawing, but it is almost impossible to keep it up for an extended period of time. No matter what exercise I do and conditioning I do with my hands and arms, I still cannot write or draw for more than a few minutes at a time.

I definitely won't be having it redone like I've read of people have had to do.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Barbara.

For the record, nobody 'had' to get another surgery. And to me it's weird when they do..."Hey, that first surgery didn't help/made things worse, let's do another one!"


1. You are experiencing weakness and can't get stronger because your muscles/structures aren't able to work very well.

Making things that aren't working well work harder isn't likely to get one the results one wants (tell that to doctors and PT's though....)

Said another way, you're not weak, you're just not working very well.

As long as the surgeon didn't cut/sever nerve, 90%+ of that lost strength should be recoverable.

2. Presuming that the surgery didn't actually harm you...you're still hurting because surgery ignored all the causes of your pain/problem, and ultimately made those factors worse).

If you were to get surgery, how exactly would that help? What exactly is causing the pain/problem/weakness? The doctors don't know...so why would surgery be a solution? Surgery on what exactly?

Anyhoo, I'd get and start working with the Carpal Tunnel Treatment That Works program. If you do what you're supposed to do, you'll definitely get some (and likely significant) amount better. Then at a certain point we'll likely want to/need to fine to to get that last 10%-20% (again, presuming that surgery didn't do anything irreversible).

Aug 09, 2018
Pain for 9 months after nerve test
by: Anonymous

I had a nerve test on Oct 2017 and the next day my left knee had severe pain which has now lasted day and night for 9 months with fatty matter now growing on the knee under the skin.

No amount of anti-inflammatory has eased the pain. I am beginning to think that a needle must have broken off at the time of the test.

Any guidance or advise would be appreciated. I did not have any knee pain prior to the nerve test after a root nerve impingement on right L5.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

My overall best guess is that you were low on nutrition overall, your body/electrical system thus wasn't working as well as it should, and it couldn't handle the extra signal put into it from the test.

This results in muscles clamping down (compressing the knee joint), inflammation process dumping pain enhancing chemical into the area (knee pain etc which causes more muscle tigtness and eats up more nutrition that you're already short on).

I don't have a great explanation for the lipoma development. They usually show up in areas where there is mechanical stress on an area...so....it makes a certain amount of stress.

- Google 'lipoma iodine' and read up on that. Depending, the right kind of iodine applied topically to lipomas can produce some pretty surprising 'lipoma went away' results.

- Do you have a tender spot/red spot/infected spot from needle metal being stuck in there?

Aug 12, 2018
Response to your question re tenderness
by: Anonymous

Thank you Joshua, Re tender point/redness. I have had a constant tender point since the day after the nerve test, with severe pain and growing weakness in the left knee (collapsing) The use of combined Lyrica/Tramadol and Mobic anti inflammatory all taken at the same time for the root nerve impingement has not touched the pain left in the knee. I have researched the iodine limpoma as you suggested and will follow the recommendation - thank you

Sep 05, 2018
Constant pain twitching and pins and needles after EMG
by: Char


I had an EMG test done in May after experiencing nerve pain in the ball of both feet.

Since having this test I have been in constant agony in both legs and feet, muscle pain, pins and needles and twitching constantly since I had this test. 3 months going on 4 now.

Any ideas??? Please!!



Joshua Comments:

Hello Char.

All I have for that is 'nutrition'. Meaning, your body couldn't handle, and hasn't been able to recover from, A. the extra electrical stimulation that was put into your system and B. the body's reaction to that.

Meaning, your system got a shock (literal and figurative) and your body couldn't handle the stimulus, got freaked out, and has not been able to return to 'normal'.

A large part of the explanation is nutritional. Your body doesn't have the little pieces parts that it needs to be able to function correctly.

It's doing the best it can.

1. See: Magnesium For Tendonitis

2. What is your Vitamin D3 level?

Sep 10, 2018
Reaction to EMG
by: Char

Hi Josh,

Thanks for your response.

I will look in magnesium as willing to try anything at this point!

I’ve had two blood tests done and all levels normal - even on the rheumatology side.

So frustrating not having a diagnosis!

Can you recommend the best magnesium to take?

Many thanks,



Joshua Comments:

Basically, any magnesium other than magnesium oxide.

Other than that, I go through all different kinds and don't notice any particular difference between them (though some people do...so try different kinds out).

Feb 24, 2019
upcoming test
by: Anonymous

I am scheduled to have a conduction test in two days to determine if I have carpel tunnel syndrome. My symptoms are skin numbness when I use my iphone or remote controls. I am frightened seriously about the test and the effects afterwards.

Any suggestions?


Joshua Comments:

Lots of people have the tests with no problem. I'd go with that you're one of those people....until proven wrong IF proven wrong.

Having said that, where exactly is the numbness?

What other symptoms do you have?

Oct 13, 2019
Poisonous needles?
by: Tammy

I am angry! Yesterday I had the fourth EMG in my life and the doctor stuck the needle in my neck too far. Neck bones muscles and tissues are more delicate and doctors should be trained to be more careful as to not cause permanent damage. A headache started a short time after the test and has persisted all night. Before the test I even told him that I was having problems with double vision, and he grinned!

I plan to contact the Board of Medicine to file a formal complaint.

Oct 21, 2019
by: Anonymous

I like many others on here had the test with the electric currents and needles stuck in various places on the lower half of my body. It was so awful to have to tolerate that amount of pain for that kind of testing. I was yelling out so loudly and jerking and moving from both!!! I think that an evaluation should be conducted on persons to see if the tolerance can make a not good reading of this test with so much movement when it's encouraged to "Stay Still"???? How on this earth is that possible with burning electrical currents and feeling like a shot of Cortisone type of needle is going around in the body??? How is one "Expected" to BE STILL during this phase???? I'm very sore and couldn't walk to well due to cramps in my back, thighs and legs from this torturous test!!! Dear God, it's awful :(

Jan 24, 2020
Maybe vitamin d strikes again
by: AnonymousMary Ellen

Have had 6 back surgeries. Have had multiple nct and emgs (hand and lower arm and legs). Each one seemed to hurt more than the last, with the last one on the lower legs being the horrendous one. I have been taking pain meds for the last 17 years. Kept telling doctors I really didn't have back pain, just felt like catching the flu. Seemed like my muscles and bones hurt.

Had test for vitamins D which was in single digits. Took the vit D regmine till test was in normal range. Having read up on what got D does in body thought this was it I'm going to be well. Wrong. Then read about high dose vitamin D. Wow!!! Am now taking half the pain meds and doing 100% better. In reading your posts I wonder what an emg would feel like now?


Joshua Comments:

That makes a lot of sense.

If the body can't handle the input, pain results.

Single digit Vitamin D level...that's......REEEEEEAAAaLLLLYYYYY BAAAAAAAAD.

Really bad.

It's incredibly unsurprising that you were having pain, etc.

1. I hope you've been taking Vitamin D3 and not prescription Vit D2 (which raises levels but doesn't do a great job of providing benefit).

2. I hope your Vit D level is between 60-80ng/ml (optimal). 40=60ng/ml is just fine.

Probably (almost certainly) your magnesium is low too. Do you supplement with Magnesium (which is required by the body to convert the Vit D into it's active form in the blood).

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