Electromyography (EMG) Clinic

The Electromyography (EMG) Clinic at St. Joseph’s Health Care London offers a full range of electrodiagnostic services. A patient may be referred to this clinic by their doctor to receive an EMG test if they are experiencing symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness or radiating pain. Keep reading to learn more about EMG tests and what you can expect during an appointment.

What is electromyography?

Electromyography is a diagnostic test used to assess the health of your muscles and the electrical activity of the nerves in the peripheral nervous system that controls them. Your peripheral nervous system sends information to your brain and carries signals that allow you to move your muscles.

Why is an EMG test ordered?

An EMG test can help diagnose problems with your nerves or muscles. Your doctor may request an EMG test if you are experiencing symptoms like numbness, tingling, weakness or radiating pain. 

What can I expect during an EMG appointment?

An EMG appointment can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours depending on what test your doctor has ordered. Please allow extra time in case of delays or if additional tests are required. First, the doctor will ask you about your symptoms and past medical history. Next, they will do a physical exam and look at your reflexes, strength, sensation, etc.  

A typical EMG test includes: ​​​​​​

  • Nerve conduction study – This part of the test is done by an EMG technologist. First, the technologist will gently clean your skin with alcohol and then place sticky electrodes onto your skin. Next, a handheld stimulating probe will be placed on your skin to deliver small electric impulses and test the electrical activity of your nerves. The electric impulses begin at a low level and gradually increase in intensity. The impulses you will feel are best described as a short, static shock-like sensation. They are not harmful and do not cause any lasting effects or damage. Most patients tolerate this part of the test quite well once they get used to the feeling.
  • Needle EMG – This part of the test is done by a physiatrist/physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor who has been specially trained in diagnosing muscle and nerve conditions. A small (acupuncture-sized) disposable needle will be inserted into select muscles. On the end of the needle is a recording probe that allows the doctor to listen to the sound of your muscle. The needle acts like a microphone and is used to listen to your muscle at rest and when it is being used.
What happens after the EMG test?

After the exam and all testing is complete, the doctor will discuss the results with you and answer any questions. A report of your results will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the test in 1 to 2 weeks. You may also be asked to book a follow-up appointment before you leave.

How do I prepare for my appointment?
  • Don’t apply lotions or creams the day of your appointment (unless medically necessary)  
  • Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown depending on what body part is being tested.  
  • Don’t wear any fragrance, e.g., cologne, perfume 
  • Remove all jewelry (rings, bracelets, watches, etc.) except for MedicAlert bracelets  
  • Bring a list of all current medications 
  • Inform the EMG technologist and physician on the day of your appointment if you are currently taking any blood-thinning medication 
  • Inform the clinic if you have a cardiac pacemaker. In most cases this will not affect your appointment, however we may choose a different testing method.
Where is the EMG Clinic located?

The EMG clinic is at Parkwood Institute Main Building, 550 Wellington Road South, London Ontario. To find the clinic, enter the building using the Zone C entrance then take the Zone B elevators to the 4th floor. When you exit the elevator, use the double doors labelled 4BW and proceed to the EMG reception desk (down the hall to your left). 

You can find more information about Parkwood Institute, including a site map and where to park.

What do I do if I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment?

If you are feeling unwell or are unable to attend your appointment and would like to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call the EMG Clinic at 519-646-6157.

Get contact information and directions to the EMG Clinic at Parkwood Institute Main Building.

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