Are Electrodiagnostic Tests Necessary for Neck & Back Pain?

Posted on November 3, 2020

When patients experience neck or back pain, a pain physician may check the nerves and muscles using electrodiagnostic tests to detect any damage.

Neck or back pain can cause numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in the arm or leg, often due to an irritated or pinched nerve. These symptoms typically dissipate on their own, but if they are severe or continue for a prolonged period of time, electrodiagnostic testing may be necessary.

These tests, which use electrodes and small electric shocks to detect pinched nerves, can help determine the origin of the pain and indicate how serious the damage may be. But in some cases, the tests may not be called for.

How electrodiagnostic tests work

Electrodiagnostic testing is a form of medical study which collects ‘data’ by passively recording the electrical activity of body parts, or by measuring response to external electrical stimuli.

In the human body, nerves and muscles create electrical signals that deliver ‘messages’ to and from the brain. Damage or injury to the nerves and muscles can inhibit or stop the transmission of these electrical signals.

Electrodiagnostic testing measures the speed and intensity at which electrical impulses are traveling, in order to detect damaged nerves or muscles, which transmit a weaker and/or slower electrical signal.

When electrodiagnostic tests may not be necessary

If back or neck pain is experienced after a car accident or other traumatic injury, a test may not be needed — unless there is ongoing pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in the arm or leg.

If you suffer from neck or back pain, especially for a prolonged period of time, it is a good idea to consult with your pain doctor, who can work with you to determine whether electrodiagnostic testing would be beneficial for your individual situation.

Risks associated with electrodiagnostic testing

While electrodiagnostic tests are generally safe and effective, there are a couple of caveats to consider.

  • Anxiety prior to the tests.
  • Discomfort from the electric shocks.

Are You Suffering from Neck or Back Pain and Think You May Need Testing?

If you have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your muscles or nerves, electrodiagnostic testing may help diagnose conditions that could be treated either through procedures such as injections or by way of surgical intervention.

If you would like more information about these tests or any pain relief treatments we offer, call Riverside Pain Physicians at 904.389.1010 to schedule an appointment today. Our highly skilled physicians will assess your individual needs to more effectively relieve your chronic pain and restore your quality of life.

Or, you can click here to set up a consultation online.

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