Muscular weakness that gets progressively worse is the main sign that can lead to a muscular dystrophy diagnosis. There are several different types of muscular dystrophy. Some will appear in childhood, while other types only appear in the late teen or early twenties. In rare cases, symptoms occur even further in to adulthood. While there is no cure for muscular dystrophy at present, there are medications and therapies that help people living with the disease. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor if you have unexplained muscular weakness. The sooner you get a muscular dystrophy diagnosis, the faster you can get treatment. The disease may progress more slowly, too.
How EMG Testing Is Used in Muscular Dystrophy Diagnosis
Doctors use several different tests to confirm a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy (MD). Some kinds of MD are inherited, so your doctor might recommend genetic testing. You might also have blood tests or a muscle biopsy. Finally, your doctor might order EMG testing. EMG stands for electromyogram. The test measures how muscles respond when the nerve supply is stimulated. It also measures electrical activity in the muscles. These tests show doctors whether a disease in the muscles (like MD) or a nerve disorder causes muscle weakness.
The EMG test is very low risk and relatively pain-free. In fact, you should let the doctor performing the test know immediately if it does hurt. Excessive pain will interfere with good test results. On the day of the test, don’t use lotions or oils, as they will keep the electrodes from sticking to the skin. You will flex your muscles according to the doctor’s instructions. An oscilloscope records the electrical signal your muscles put out. The size and shape of the wave gives the neurologist information about how to muscle responds to nerve stimulation. The EMG test will last between 30 and 90 minutes. It’s performed in an outpatient clinic, and you should be able to go about your daily activities when it’s over.
Contact Precision Medical Group to get help setting up an appointment for EMG/NCS testing.