Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis via EMG
The day arrived for undergoing electromyography (EMG) to determine if there was any carpal tunnel in my wrists. To give you an idea of what to expect if you need to undergo this, here are a few photos and a little bit of helpful info.
Wear a tank top so they can access your entire arm or you will likely get stuck in one of these lovely gowns. If it's cold out, just dress in layers. Of course if you're a sucker for a good hospital gown experience, by all means wear long sleeves! I had asked if I needed to wear anything specific for the test and was told "no", so this is a helpful tidbit for you as they figure they can gown you if you don't wear something with access.
Once you are gowned up, the next step is to make sure your hands are warm. The clinic I'm using has a lovely heat lamp for this purpose. If your hands are always cold you might want to be proactive. The closer they are to warm the less time you spend waiting and wondering.
Once your hands are the right temperature and they are ready to start the procedure, you can expect quite a bit of zapping in a variety of places. The first part is nerve conduction testing which consists of small electrical stimulations of the nerves. For the EMG a small needle is inserted into specific muscles to check for nerve damage, you will actually need to be quiet as the doctor or technician is listening to what occurs, this was quite fascinating!
The pain was just mildly annoying vs actually painful to me, it felt much like a tens unit if you've ever had one on your back, neck, or other muscles. If you have a low pain tolerance it will not be pleasant, the nice thing is that it does not take all that long. The full appointment was only an hour.
The results from this testing combined with the x-rays and information you provided during some manual tests will give your surgeon an idea of whether or not you have carpal tunnel and how severe any existing nerve damage may be.
Leave any tips for success in the comments if you have already been through this process or drop any questions you may have!