questions about EMG? NSG ordered an EMG for my arms and legs

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questions about EMG? NSG ordered an EMG for my arms and legs

Postby DavidinCinci » Mon May 28, 2007 11:44 pm

i was decompressed 9/05 and everything went well. i have syrinx
around c6-c7. i had my annual check up in april. and he was happy with
my MRI saying the surgical area looked great. my syrinx has not
i told him i still wasn't feeling very well. i have numbness in my
arms and leggs. pain in my shoulders and arms and get some numbness
and burning in my face. he ordered an EMG. i had an EMG last week and
got the results in the mail today. i have to schedule a follow up with
my NSG next month. the results said that i there was no evidence of a
right or left cervical radiculopathy, plexopathy,periferal neuropothy
or carpel tunnel syndrom. There are no EMG finding that would
correlate with the small syrinx. the c6-7 areas were all normal.
there were normal motor units and no fasciculations. There was no
evidence of a right or left lumbosacral radiculopathy, plexopathy or
peripheral neuropathy in the areas sampled. so what does all this
mean in regards to my symptoms? right now my hands and feet are numb
and i have pain in my shoulders and burning feeling in face and arms. i
am confused!!!!!!
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Postby Ryzing » Tue May 29, 2007 8:32 am

Hi David,

I can see why you're frustrated - I would be, too. You've got the symtoms, but according to the report, nothing should be causing them. Ha! We all know better.... :wink:

I had an EMG last year - and if I remember correctly, my NL did this test to check for nerve damage/muscle weakness. There were two parts of the test - one where a technician zapped me with some sort of wand-type thing to see how my muscles would respond in my arms & hands.....and the second part was where my NL prodded me with the needle. Both parts showed nerve damage and decreased muscle response. (This test was done before my syrinx was found.)

Let us know what you find out at your follow-up visit. In the meantime, I hope those symtoms lay off a bit.

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Postby daynthelife » Tue May 29, 2007 3:06 pm

I was told and I'm not sure how accurate the info is that EMG's will come back normal for us..I have no idea why this is...if indeed the info is initial 2005...came back normal and I am being scheduled for another soon. I'll post about it after it happens...
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Postby drummergrl » Tue May 29, 2007 3:29 pm

I don't have an answer.... but I do have a question! I might have to have an EMG this summer (depends on June MRI results). Do they hurt??? They sound horrible, and I was just curious because some of you have had them.

I hope you get your answers David!!!! (oh, and go bengals if you're a bengals fan lol) I'm a fellow southern ohioan.... :)
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Postby Snoozie » Tue May 29, 2007 7:23 pm

There was an article in the Chiari-syringo newsletter that I will paste here. I hope that is ok. It is about different tests and how the results are different using the different type of testing.

This is one chapter from the article---

Not surprisingly to anyone with a syrinx, the temperature and pinprick thresholds were higher in the affected areas for every patient than in the non-affected areas. In other words, the affected areas were not able to detect temperature and pricks as well as they should be able to. What was surprising was that the electrically stimulated tests, both SEPs and eSSRs did not produce abnormal results, whereas the laser stimulated ones (LEPs, lSSRs) produced clearly abnormal results indicating the syrinx was affecting those nerves (see Table 2).

And here is the link to the article-- ... ssue%205(3)/Abnormal%20Skin%20Responses%205(3).asp

you guys tell me what you think...Sue
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Postby birdlover3 » Tue May 29, 2007 9:40 pm

My EMG and NCV show ‘normal’ also, even though I have symptoms. I’ve read here and on the WACMA forum that it’s not unusual for us to have normal test results. Also, if you research online, you’ll read that not all EMG and NCV test results are accurate. There are too many things that can interfere with the results of the EMG and NCV test results.

I hope others here don’t mind that I’m posting parts of an older post about normal EMG/NCV results:

(5/16/06 7:48 pm) I had a nerve conduction study as well last week. The NL said it was to rule out nerve problems in my arms causing the pain/numbness/tingling. He said that since it was all normal that the sensations WERE coming from the cord. I think it's just something they do to rule out simpler causes...I'd rather have carpel tunnel than sm any day!

(5/16/06 8:06 pm) Also, "Dr. Eye-candy" told me that the burning is not a typical sx. of arm nerve damage...but is a sign of problems with the cord. Also, the fact that when my PT puts my arm in certain positions and it quickly goes numb, NOT a localized sx...

(5/12/06 10:57 pm) What he meant with the results was that there is no nerve impingement in my arms...thus the sx are coming from the cord (aka "sm"). I don't have any protruding cspine discs...not sure about others yet. I'm not sure if he will order a thoracic MRI as that is where the sharp stabbing pain in my back originates...trying to pull the knife out of there causing the stabbing pain!

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Postby birdlover3 » Tue May 29, 2007 9:49 pm

drummergrl, some people hurt very little with this test, and have just a little discomfort, while others have a good bit of pain. Also, some have no bruising at all, while others have some, or a lot. My first EMG/NCV tests weren’t that painful, but the last 2 have been. Hopefully, you’ll be one of the ones who doesn’t have pain or bruising with your tests. Before you have your tests, please remind us so we can pray for you.

Snoozie, thanks for the link.
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Postby Ryzing » Wed May 30, 2007 5:59 am


My NL did the needle part of the test with an accupuncture needle, so I barely felt the needle going in. I was one of the unlucky ones who got tiny little bruises from all the pin pricks :? . I thought the part with the electrical current was a little more uncomfortable, but that's me.

The nerve damage that showed up on my EMG results came from a nasty bout with Shingles in '04, left side. At least that's what my Dr. Eye Candy said :D .

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Postby hoz74 » Wed May 30, 2007 7:29 am

The test for me was a little uncomfortable but not too bad, the doctor didn't even need to finish it (or so he said) to see that I had nerve damage, but I might be looking at having another one with a different doctor in the near future. I would feel better having a finished one with a different doctor because this doctor was questionable in my taste anyway, so it wasn't that unbearable for me to want to have another one with full results. Hope this helps
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Postby Stacie » Wed May 30, 2007 3:28 pm

My NL said the same as other post - "nerve conductive tests are done to rule out impingements, entrapments, etc." If they come back as normal, then the issue lies elsewhere than in the arm. My NL said he was ruling everything else out by doing EMG test so he could say it was the syrinx causing the symptoms.
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Postby Janice » Wed May 30, 2007 7:17 pm

Hi All,

This is still new to me and I am now finding information to clear up some of my confusion. Today on this site I have found more information than I've gathered from my doctors in the past 9 months.

At the end of August 06 I was diagnosed with having a small syrinx from T3-T9 after I had surgery on two fractured vertebrae caused by a tumor in the Lumbar spine. I am currently in a wheelchair and sometimes a walker for constant shaking in my right leg. I sometimes fall and can't even think about driving again. In November I started having infrequent bladder incontinence and by February the shaking had moved to my right arm, not to mention the constant pain. My doctors are still unsure if my symptoms are caused by the syrinx or if they are a residual of fracture. Both the syrinx and fracture were identified during my emergency admission to the hospital for uncontrollable shaking in the right leg. The shaking has decreased some since surgery for the fracture (vertebroplasty) but other symptoms have developed.

I can say that it was rather helpful reading some of the details today because sometimes I get a little frustrated because the doctors can't really tell me anything. The first six months was extremely depressing and hard so the frustration didn't help. It seems frustration from lack of information is a pretty normal occurence.

I'm simply here for information and support.

Thanks so much for all the information and weblinks.

I am in San Diego California so if you know of any doctors here, please let me know.

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Postby mac » Wed May 30, 2007 8:25 pm

Janice, welcome to the board, though i am certainly sorry to hear about your situation. You are going through such a tough time. I think the main thing everyone here suggests is that you see a true, full time expert in SM. Yours sounds like a very complicated case given your severe back injury from the MVA. Being seen and treated by the best is what will contribute toward your becoming the best you can be.

have you looked into Dr. Batzdorf at UCLA? He is semi retired now, I believe, but still evaluating patients and has a team of doctors he's trained to work with him, so I've heard. In your case, he may be the best option for you, he's close and is one of the fulltime CM/SM experts.

Just throwing some thoughts out there...but most of all, welcoming you here.


Postby Janice » Wed May 30, 2007 8:35 pm

I will try contacting this doctor. LA is quite a distance since I am unable to drive. I currently have to depend on the disability van for appointments. However, it seems to be worth checking into since he is considered an expert.

Thanks a lot Mac.

Have a pleasant day.

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Postby razzle51 » Thu May 31, 2007 5:14 am

Ulrich Batzdorf, MD. ... zdorf.html
Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of Spine Surgery
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles, California
I choose not to place "DIS" in my ability.

There is a light at the end of every tunnel....just pray it's not a train!.

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Postby mac » Thu May 31, 2007 7:47 am

Thanks, Roz. Janice, I'm sending you a PM.


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