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Electromyography (EMG) is a test that measures the electrical activity of your muscles at rest and during motion. An EMG also tests the electrical activity of the nerves that control your muscles.


Before your test:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

During your test:

  • Thin needles will be put into your muscles. You may feel a pinch and dull ache as the needles are inserted. Patches may also be taped to your skin. Both the needles and patches have wires that are connected to a machine that records the electrical activity. Caregivers will test your muscle while it is resting. You may then be asked to tighten your muscle, such as bending your arm. Caregivers may test several muscles.
  • The patches on your skin will send a mild shock to your muscle. The shock will only affect the muscle being tested and does not go to the rest of your body. It may tingle, cause slight numbness, or make your muscle twitch.

After your test:

Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. You will be able to go home after the test.

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms. Apply heat on the area for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each day or as directed.


You may develop soreness, bruises, or bleeding where the needles were put into your skin. You could get a skin infection where the needles were inserted.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Electromyography (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes