The Southeastern Spine Institute

Nerve Conduction Studies & EMGs

Nerve conduction studies (NCVs) are designed to test how well electrical currents flow across your nerves. This diagnostic test helps your physician detect an abnormal nerve condition.

Your physician may order an NCV for you if you are experiencing weakness or numbness in your arms or legs. An NCV also can help determine the severity of a nerve injury. An NCV often is combined with an electromyelogram (see below).


First, the technologist conducting the test places small electrodes on your skin using a water-based gel. The electrodes are placed at specific points, depending on the nerves your physician wants to test.

The technologist then stimulates the nerves with a slight electrical impulse. A computer records and measures the reaction speed of your nerves to the impulse. You may experience a little discomfort during the electrical stimulation portion of the test. This is normal and temporary.


Before your NCV exam, make sure to shower. The electrodes adhere best to clean, dry skin. Also, keep the area being tested free of any lotions or oils. Wearing these types of products can keep the electrodes from adhering to your skin and will interfere with the results.

If you have any other questions regarding your NCV, please contact our office at (843) 849-1551.


An electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic test that allows your physician to determine the health of your muscles and the motor nerves that control them. Your physician may order an electomyelogram (EMG) to measure the electrical activities in specific muscles. An EMG can reveal muscle or nerve dysfunction, as well as problems with nerve-to-muscle signals.


Your doctor inserts small, acupuncture-type needles into the muscles of your arms or legs. The needles measure the electrical signals directly from the muscles, so no external electrical current is sent through the needle.


Before your EMG test, you may follow your regular routine. Take your medications as normal unless otherwise instructed. You also may eat normally and drive yourself to this appointment.

If you have any other questions regarding your EMG, please contact our office at (843) 849-1551.


You should allow between 45 to 60 minutes to complete both tests.

After the tests, you can return to your regular activities. Your physician likely will schedule a follow-up appointment, at which time you can review and discuss the results of the tests.

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