4 doctors weighed in:

My emg shows pinched nerves in l5-s1 region but the MRI is negative. How is this possible?

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michele Arnold
Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Michele Arnold
Dr. Michele Arnold
Thank
Dr. Luis Villaplana
Internal Medicine

In brief: 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...

In brief: 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. Luis Villaplana
Dr. Luis Villaplana
Thank
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