Diagnosis Of Back Pain

Diagnosis Through Electrodiagnostic Tests

Electrodiagnostic tests are performed to analyze the electric waveforms of nerves and muscles that help in identifying possible injuries and detecting nerve abnormalities causing back pain. Electrodiagnostic tests are helpful in determining the real significance of any abnormal structural finding on a MRI scan as a cause of back pain. The most commonly performed Electrodiagnostic tests are:


 Nerve Conduction Studies: These studies help in monitoring the electrical functioning muscles and nerves. For performing nerve conduction studies, surface electrodes are attached to the skin. The time taken by impulse to travel to another electrode is measured by applying small electric shocks. Nerve conduction studies can confirm compression of the nerve caused by herniated disc or narrowing of your spinal stenosis. This test is also used to diagnose peripheral nerve disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Electromography (EMG): In electromyography a fine sterile, wire electrode is briefly inserted in to a muscle and the electrical activity is shown on a viewing screen. This is generally performed when the other tests indicate the condition to be aggressive increasing the risk of a significant injury. This procedure is quite a painful one. The main aim of this test is to measure the electrical discharges produced in the muscles. EMG can be recommended by your doctor in case of weakness and numbness in the affected area. EMG helps in evaluating and diagnosing nerve and muscle disorders like:

- Muscle dystrophy and other muscular disorders
- Peripheral neuropathy

- Compression of nerve root

-Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

These studies are different from other studies as these studies look at function. For example, if you take a picture of a person you would be able to tell how tall he is or whats the color of his hair but you would not be able to determine whether he has high blood pressure or other disease as they are test functions. Similarly these studies are also a test of function which look at determining as to how well a nerve works.