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A 39-year-old member asked:

my emg shows pinched nerves in l5-s1 region but the mri is negative. how is this possible?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Luis Villaplana
Internal Medicine 35 years experience
THE MRI IS NOT: The absolute, ultimate diagnostic test. It can rule out a lot of things but it can miss subtle problems that are bad enough to cause your EMG results. Please also remember that the cause of the EMG abnormality may not be arising from the spine...
Dr. Michele Arnold
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 22 years experience
Complementary...: The MRI shows a picture of the vertebrae and discs, but it does not show how the nerves are functioning. The two tests are complementary: one shows structure and the other shows function. A pinched L5 or s1 nerve does not always mean it is trapped by a disc or bone spur-- it may get damaged or pinched intermittently when your spine moves, or may have incurred stretch damage.

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Last updated Apr 25, 2019

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