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Nerve Conductivity Test

Discussion in 'Peripheral Neuropathy' started by filfla4, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. filfla4

    filfla4 Senior Member

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    :Sign Help:

    I'm having problems with my ulnar nerve in my left arm and consequently my left pinky and half my ring finger have been totally numb for some time now. :(

    I just got back from seeing an orthopaedic surgeon and he has referred me for a Nerve Conductivity Test, for which I have an appointment at the end of the month. Have any of you ever done this kind of test? What does it involve and do any of our other nerve problems ever show up?

    Depending on the results of this test, the ortho doc is possibly considering a minor surgical procedure to enable the nerve to bypass the elbow (or something like that).

    Anyone with any experience of this?

    Thanks!!! :Retro smile:
  2. V99

    V99 *****

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    Hi filfa4

    I had that test recently. Funnily enough for a similar reason. It doesn't take long, or mine didn't. They stick a little node at one end of your arm and hold another node to the other end. A little shock is sent down your arm, and an image is produced on the screen of the machine, to show how good the nerve is working. They then repeat this a couple of times. It's very quick, not painful (or mine wasn't), just a very small jolt.

    The problem I am having is with my right wrist/hand. It all started when I picked up a cup of tea. (How daft is that) I've had an MRI and a nerve conductivity test. The consultant believes it is a torn ligament, and I will be having an operation soon. Obviously you have a different problem, so perhaps it may be a little more uncomfortable, but as you are getting numbness, I suspect you may feel very little.

    Hope that's helpful
  3. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    I had that to test for carpal tunnel syndrome. It was probably one of the most excruciatingly painful procedures I have ever had. I could barely get through it, almost passed out and wanted to quit a few times, but somehow managed to get through it on sheer will alone. If you are not electrically sensitive it might not bother you that much, but if you are at all sensitive you are in for an unpleasant time, to say the least. The doctor said most people had problems with the second part, where needles are injected into you for some reason that I don't recall, but I had no problem with that at all, and could have had that done all day. Especially after the electrical jolting - the needles were like paradise compared to that.

    I would consider surgery only as a very last result. Chiropractic and other measures would probably make a lot more sense to start out with. A good chiropractor and the proper rehabilitation protocols might be able to fix it without surgery.
  4. V99

    V99 *****

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    I never had needles put into me, then again my problem is different.
  5. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    For ulnar nerve problems (aka, cubital tunnel syndrome), they will probably do both tests, the Nerve Conduction Velocity test, which is the one involving the electrical impulses, and the EMG test (electromyography), where they inject fairly moderate sized needles into your muscles and have you contract the muscles, I guess to see if there is any functional impairment from the nerve involvement. Most people find that test the more painful one, according to the doctor who did mine. But maybe they won't even do it, you could call and ask if they're doing the EMG testing along with the NCV.
  6. filfla4

    filfla4 Senior Member

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    Hi. I thought I'd bump up this thread as I've now had the Nerve Conductivity Test and there certainly is damage in my ulnar nerve. I have to see the ortho at the end of the week and then take it from there. If he suggests surgery, I think I'll definitely go to a chiropractor first.

    I was just wondering if this sort of nerve damage (cubital tunnel/carpal tunnel etc) is common in ME/CFS?
  7. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    It's common in hypothyroidism. Did they check you for that? If not, you should ask to be tested.
  8. filfla4

    filfla4 Senior Member

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    I last had my thyroid tested two and a half years ago....so perhaps it's about time I repeated it. Thanks!
  9. roxie60

    roxie60 Senior Member

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    so EMG is painful? im sched for one tues. what is the process? what is it trying to prove? sounds barberic. is it worth it? cant recall why we r doing this. i am more concerned abouyt memory and cognitive stuff than my muscles vibrating.
  10. ahimsa

    ahimsa Senior Member

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    I had an EMG many years ago. Parts of it were painful and parts were not. [Edited to add - I did not find the nerve conduction part of the test painful at all. Fortunately, I am not sensitive to electricity or being shocked.]

    For me, the amount of pain depended on the location where they put the electrodes when testing. They started out on my arm and hand. I didn't find that painful at all. But when they started putting electrodes in my lower back, or the top of my foot, I found that very painful. I don't know exactly why the different locations made so much difference.

    By the way, I'm not nervous about needles. I have no trouble with shots, giving blood samples, acupuncture, novacaine at the dentist, etc. I just thought I'd mention that because it had nothing to do with needles or being scared of the electrodes. It was actually quite a surprise that there was any pain because no one had warned me one way or another.

    Fortunately, the technician who did my test was very understanding. He told me that he had had the test done on himself as part of the training. So he said that he understood the pain (which means, I guess, that it is painful for others, too, not just me). This made me less self conscious about feeling so much pain from it. He also gave me lots of time in between tests to rest and psych myself up for the next test.

    My EMG test was done more than 20 years ago so take my experience with a grain of salt. The test may have changed since that time! (Sheesh, I sure hope so!) Also, there seems to be a wide range of reactions - some people don't feel much pain, others do.

    Sadly, the data from my EMG did not help me at all. It showed a bunch of non-specific abnormalities but nothing to point to any type of diagnosis or treatment options. I think asking your doctor some probing questions, e.g., "What are we hoping to learn from the EMG?" -or- "How will results from this EMG test change my treatment plan?" might help you to decide whether this test is worth it for you.

    @roxie, if you do have the EMG then I hope it provides some useful data for you!

    Sending :hug: HUGS :hug: and good vibes.
    roxie60 likes this.
  11. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I have seen others write similar to jeffrez before :(

    I didn't mind the NCV. Not pleasant but no big deal to me. I didn't like the EMG needles. They are thin but still bothered me.
  12. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Have you? I just reread that today and was going to write to say that I thought maybe my experience was unusual. I am very electrically sensitive, even from metal fillings. I suspect that if you're okay with EMFs, or like "normal" people in that regard, the test shouldn't be too bad. But if you're at all sensitive (like the thought of biting aluminum foil with your teeth is extremely unpleasant, etc.) you might be in for some discomfort, lol. I could barely stand it, but like I said, I think my experience was at the far end of the (in)tolerance spectrum.
  13. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I accidentally chewed on aluminum foil once. Horrible! I have amalgams.

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