EMG vs. NCV


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An electromyography (EMG) or NCV (nerve conduction velocity) – those are the two tests that are commonly used to assess for carpal tunnel syndrome. The nerve conduction velocity is simpler, it’s less painful. An EMG actually involves some electrical shocks, so it tends to be more painful, but it’s very helpful information. The EMG (electromyography) will show the function of the muscle and whether the muscles are functioning correctly. If they’re not, that can be indicative of the nerve not functioning correctly. The nerve conduction velocity itself is a different test and that actually tests the conduction of the nerve in the region where you’re concerned that it may not be flowing. It’s like a telephone cable and if for some reason the telephone cable isn’t conducting its signal, then you’re not going to get your telephone signal. Same thing with carpal tunnel. If the nerve is being compressed right here in the palm, then the signal is not going to get out to the fingers and that’s why patients present with numbness in their fingers.

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