Maybe your suffering from a trapped nerve in your neck or your lower back and you have been referred for a nerve conduction study. There are different ways to try diagnose the source of your pain and a nerve conduction studies are one way. Today I want to look a bit more into what a nerve conduction study is and why your doctor would refer you for a nerve conduction test.
Nerve Conduction Studies
Nerve conduction studies are usually performed by a clinical neurophysiologists. Your neurologist can also do the nerve conduction test.
The nerve conduction studies test for changes in the sensation supply and the motor supply of a nerve.
A test to see where you have a trapped nerve can involve two parts:
Part 1 – Nerve Conduction Studies
This is where electrical pads are put in specific areas on your arm or your leg. Then an electrical impulse is sent between the two pads. This electrical impulse would travel down the nerve being tested. This is then measured as the nerve conduction velocity (NCV) to see if there is a delay in the expected response of the electrical impulse down the nerve.
Part 2 – Electromyography
An electromyography is also known as an EMG. A clinical neurophysiologist would put fine needles into the muscles to be tested. In the same way the electricity travels down the nerve, the needles should pick up activity in the muscles with the needles in them. A trapped nerve condition in your neck or back can cause the nerve not to supply the muscle properly. This means the muscle is getting weaker cos it can’t get all the nerve supply it needs.
What Nerve Conduction Studies Look Like Video
In the following video you can see the entire process for having a nerve conduction study and EMG test. You will see there are lots of different nerves that can be tested and different electrodes are used on different parts of the body.
Interpretation of the Nerve Conduction Studies Results
Your doctor who ordered the nerve conduction test will let you know what all the numbers mean. You might be at the stage where you have the neurologist or orthopaedic surgeon giving you the results of your test at one of the UK neurological hospitals.
If you would like more detail on what the results would be of nerve conduction studies for a trapped nerve in your spine causing pain, you can read more in the book about “Clinical Electromyography” by Shin j. Oh.
Why Have a Nerve Conduction Study?
Nerve conduction studies are great adjunct in confirming a diagnoses of a trapped nerve in different places. For instance it can sometimes be confusing whether or not you have a trapped nerve in one place or another. Also you can test to see if the problem is in the nerve or in the muscle.
Some other visual studies your doctor might order when trying to diagnose a trapped nerve might be an x-ray or an MRI scan like this MRI scan of a trapped nerve in the neck.
Some of the trapped nerve conditions you might have to go for a nerve conduction study could be:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Cervical Disc Herniation
- Lumbar Disc Herniation
- Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
I haven’t been for a nerve conduction study myself so I don’t know how it feels. Have you had one and was it useful to your doctor in diagnosing your condition? Let me know in a comment below.
P.S. For extra information on nerve conduction studies I can recommend: