If directed to, avoid cigarettes, coffee, tea, and soft drinks for 2-3 hours before the test.
Take a bath or shower before the test.
On the day before, do not use lotion or oil.
Wear comfortable clothing, but expect to change into a hospital gown.
Tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker or other implanted device.
Description of the Test
A small needle electrode will be inserted into a muscle at rest. You will be asked to rest or contract the muscle. The electrical activity picked up by the needle will produce a waveform. The waveform will be recorded and analyzed. The test is repeated on different muscles and limbs.
You will be able to leave once the test is done. Once you are home:
Resume any medicine you stopped before the test.
Resume normal activities as tolerated.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
You may have some pain when the needle electrodes are inserted. The insertion feels like an injection into the muscle.
After the test, you may have muscle aches and discomfort for several days. Warm compresses and pain medicine may help.
The doctor doing the EMG may discuss the results with you. A report will also be sent to your regular doctor. Your doctor will discuss treatment options based on the tests and other factors.
Call Your Doctor
After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge around the needle sites
What to expect during your EMG test. American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine website. Available at:
Updated March 2005. Accessed June 5, 2008.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a