9 doctors weighed in:

Does nerve conductive study and emg prove nerve damage or nerve pain like sciatica? Can you have sciatic pain and normal results ftom these tests

9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Julian Bragg
Neurology
3 doctors agree

In brief: Shows function loss

Emg and nerve conduction studies are very good at detecting nerves that have been damaged to the point where the nerves are losing function, but are not always sensitive to less severe damage that is causing nerve irritation without loss of function, or to disease elsewhere in the body, such as in the brain or spinal cord.

In brief: Shows function loss

Emg and nerve conduction studies are very good at detecting nerves that have been damaged to the point where the nerves are losing function, but are not always sensitive to less severe damage that is causing nerve irritation without loss of function, or to disease elsewhere in the body, such as in the brain or spinal cord.
Dr. Julian Bragg
Dr. Julian Bragg
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Dr. Qamar Khan
Pain Management
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Yes

EMG/NCS can be normal if you have what is called a sensory radiculopathy, which is the pain from sciatica without the nerve damage that can be quantified on EMG.
Get an MRI and possible Xray with flexion/extension views of the spine to look for motion changes that may reveal your issues. See a fellowship trained sports/spine trained specialist.

In brief: Yes

EMG/NCS can be normal if you have what is called a sensory radiculopathy, which is the pain from sciatica without the nerve damage that can be quantified on EMG.
Get an MRI and possible Xray with flexion/extension views of the spine to look for motion changes that may reveal your issues. See a fellowship trained sports/spine trained specialist.
Dr. Qamar Khan
Dr. Qamar Khan
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Dr. Chukwuka Okafor
Orthopedic Surgery - Spine
2 doctors agree

In brief: It can be helpful in

Figuring out the the cause of your leg symptoms.
And yes, one can have leg symptoms, with a "normal" emg/ncs.

In brief: It can be helpful in

Figuring out the the cause of your leg symptoms.
And yes, one can have leg symptoms, with a "normal" emg/ncs.
Dr. Chukwuka Okafor
Dr. Chukwuka Okafor
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Dr. Frank Holmes
Sports Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: See answer

In my experience, nerve conduction studies (ncs) and EMG are normal in most cases of lumbar radiculopathy (nerve symptoms derived from the lumbar spine).
The exception is when there is severe nerve damage, often associated with chronic nerve compression from a herniated disc, bone spur, etc. I rarely order ncs/emg in cases of "sciatica" or similar. They don't help with diagnosis or treatment.

In brief: See answer

In my experience, nerve conduction studies (ncs) and EMG are normal in most cases of lumbar radiculopathy (nerve symptoms derived from the lumbar spine).
The exception is when there is severe nerve damage, often associated with chronic nerve compression from a herniated disc, bone spur, etc. I rarely order ncs/emg in cases of "sciatica" or similar. They don't help with diagnosis or treatment.
Dr. Frank Holmes
Dr. Frank Holmes
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