Did you know that if you have muscle weakness or soreness you can find out the cause by specialized nerve tests? These Specialized nerve tests are used to find where you have muscular or nerve problems. If you’re having muscle problems such as weakness, soreness, tingling, numbness, cramps, twitching, spasms, or paralysis, taking these tests helps you to figure out what exactly is causing them. Because all our muscles are connected to nerves through the spinal cord. They also can locate the abnormality in the functions of the nerves. So, knowing about these tests helps you know the underlying reason for your problem. 

Specialized nerve tests are the tests that are performed by neurologists on your nerves to find out where the problem is. These tests are used to diagnose the abnormality in the functions of nerves.

When are nerve tests needed? 

These tests study the proper functioning of our body’s nervous system. One of the benefits of these tests is that the examiner can tell you the problem you are having right after the test. You didn’t have to wait for the results like other tests. These tests help the doctor figure out the best treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.


There are 3 types of specialized nerve tests: 

  1. Electromyogram test (EMG)  
  1. Nerve Conduction velocity test (NCV) 
  1.  Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP) 


  • Electromyogram (EMG): This test is used to diagnose how your muscles respond to the electrical signals of the nerves. Whenever your brain gives any command to the muscles it goes through nerves to the muscles with the help of the spinal cord. If any problem is detected during the test, you might need to take a test for neuromuscular disorder. This test is used to diagnose diseases and abnormal functions such as inflammation of muscles, damaged nerves of arms and legs, disc herniation, or degenerative diseases such as muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, etc. This test helps the doctor to differentiate between a muscle condition and nerve condition (which is affecting the muscle response/function). 

This test is performed by a machine called an electrograph, which records the electromyogram. This test detects the electrical signals from the muscles when they are activated by nerves. Neurologists analyze these signals to check the abnormalities in the spinal cord, nerves, and the muscles (that are connected through specific nerves).  

There are two types of electromyogram tests – intramuscular EMG and surface EMG. Intramuscular EMG is used more because it produces better results. Intramuscular EMG is performed by inserting a needle electrode into your skin, while the surface EMG is performed by placing electrodes on the skin over the muscle to detect the electrical signals of the muscle.  

  • Nerve Conduction velocity test (NCV): This test is also known as the Nerve Conduction Study (NCS). It is used to measure how fast electrical impulses move from your nerve to muscles. It helps to detect nerve damage.  

To perform this test, two electrodes are attached to the skin over the nerve while the nerve is stimulated. One electrode stimulates the nerve with mild electrical impulses. The other electrode is used to record the results. The speed is measured distance between electrodes and the time electrical impulses take to travel between electrodes. If the speed is lower than normal speed, then it means the nerve is damaged. It can be caused by direct trauma, diabetic or peripheral neuropathy, viral nerve infection, or by other nerve entrapment diseases such as carpal Tunnel Syndrome. 

Sometimes examiner runs NCV and EMG together to get both to detect the nerve or muscle conditions.

  • Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP): This test shows the electrical signals of the nerve impulses that go between the body to the brain through the spinal cord. These electrical signals tell if the nerve connected with the spinal cord can send the signals to the muscles to detect sensations such as touch, temperature, or pain. To diagnose spine problems, SSEP is used together with NCV and EMG. SSEP is used to diagnose patients who have generalized nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

All these tests provide you with the exact cause of your problem. And doctors use that report to make the best treatment plan for you. 

These specialized nerve tests are designed so that they can give you instant results and they are quite accurate. But these tests might be painful to take. So, only take these tests when you have serious muscle problems or if your doctor recommends you take them.  

Want to know more about the diseases that these tests can detect? 

Call us on 718-DORAL-55 to get a free consultation.