An electromyogram (EMG) measures the electrical activity resulting from a nerve’s stimulation of a muscle. Small electrodes are placed on the arms or legs to monitor these electrical signals. This diagnostic procedure may be helpful in determining the cause of pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness.

We have three board-certified electromyographers who perform the test on a regular basis. It is important to have this test done by a neurologist with experience performing this test, as results can be operator-dependent.

Instructions for patients


  • Do not use any lotions, creams, or oils on your skin for 72
    hours prior to your EMG, or else your appointment will be rescheduled.
    This includes arms, legs, hands, and feet.
  • Bring the EMG prescription from your ordering doctor.
  • Wear shorts and/or a t-shirt, or bring them along to wear during the procedure.
  • Remember to arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment.

What to expect

  • For your EMG, very fine needle electrodes will be inserted into your arm or leg muscles. It may sting when the needle goes in.
  • The doctor will ask you to relax and then perform muscle contractions for him to measure. The exam will not be physically strenuous.
  • During the nerve conduction study (NCS), uncomfortable but momentary electric shocks will be used to stimulate the nerves.
  • EMG is an extremely safe procedure. The only possible side effect is mild muscle soreness, which rarely lasts more than an hour or two.