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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.


The week before your test:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your test.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using muscle relaxers or other medicines before your test.
  • Tell your caregiver if you have a cardiac pacemaker or stimulator. Tell your caregiver if you take a blood thinner medicine or have a condition that makes it more likely for you to bleed.

The day of your test:

  • Do not smoke, eat, or drink for 3 hours before your EMG.
  • Do not put any lotion, oil, or cream on your skin.
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

  • 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.


  • You cannot make it to your test.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your test.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your symptoms get worse.


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.

Care Agreement

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 (Precare)

Micromedex® Care Notes