Patient Comments: EMG - Pain


Was your EMG painful? What diagnosis did you receive, and how was it treated? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Bustoff, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 15

Electromyogram (EMG) is no worse than a shot; I couldn't stop laughing. It's like when you are kids and you put your tongue on a battery or you play with an old phone generator or some kind of shocker toy. I was cracking up the whole time. The lady who gave me the test says different people react differently. I wouldn't have any problem doing it again.

Comment from: OkieNomics, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 30

I had EMGs (electromyograms) done in both hands prior to a carpal tunnel surgery. This was the most painful thing I've ever experienced. I wanted to crawl out of my skin, and it was all I could do to maintain composure during the procedure. I was soaked in sweat and alternated between cussing the doctor and laughingly apologizing when the electricity was stopped, before cussing him again when it started back up. I don't care what this thing can diagnose, I will never allow this procedure again.

Comment from: Fearless, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: April 12

Reading some comments had me fearing an electromyogram (EMG) today. This is a test that takes about an hour, so requires patience, but very little discomfort. Needles are simple little pricks, no big deal. Don't worry about it! This is nothing to be afraid of. Go in relaxed and come out fine.

Comment from: MG, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 23

I had two parts, an electromyogram (EMG) and a nerve conduction study on both arms. The EMG was nothing. A tiny needle two places in my shoulder and once in the back of my hand between the thumb and index finger. I barely felt any of that. The nerve conduction study was a little less comfortable. I had the 'cattle prod' method (not needle) but I really think the anticipation of getting shocked is worse than the shocks themselves. I wouldn't freak out about this.

Comment from: Suzanne, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 15

My electromyogram (EMG) was absolutely horrible pain! I have a high pain tolerance due to having had multiple spine injections, fibromyalgia, kidney stones and had my daughter with only Demerol and Phenergan! I told the physician that he should have had one to see how it hurts and also that the CIA could use this to get terrorists to sing like a bird and tell all their secrets. I am a registered nurse (RN) and am not a person who overreacts. I do know that people react differently to pain so I am happy for those who had only discomfort.

Comment from: taras1, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 14

I have a phobia of needles. I had electromyogram (EMG) in my hands and fingers. I feel like I went into shock. After, I woke up a few nights screaming. They want me to go for EMG on my feet now, for neuropathy. No, not doing it.

Comment from: ritamariejones, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

My electromyogram (EMG) was not at all as torturous as expected, thankfully. I am sorry for anyone that experienced the pain I read about on here. Prior to my EMG, thankfully, the doctor tested about 5 spots on my leg, for back/leg pain, and only the last was felt. It was about ten minutes only. The doctor was terrific, explained the whole process. Maybe some people have more testing done, but my test was pretty quick, and results came out good, thankfully. Best wishes and good health to all.

Comment from: A reviewer, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 16

Wish I had read reviews before or did more research on EMG (electromyogram). I only had pain after an injury 4 months ago. Not sure if the test was really necessary. The doctor said the shocks would feel like a carpet shock, but it was so intense it felt like I was being shocked from an outlet. I don't know why he had it so high and I have been beating myself up ever since, that I didn't stop the test. I have worse pain now and I think it gave me actual nerve damage up my entire arm and hand. The needles were just as bad.

Comment from: Melissa, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 18

I was very nervous after reading how painful the electromyogram (EMG) nerve testing is. For me, it was no big deal at all. I was tested for nerve damage in lower back down to feet. Anticipating the pain was by far the worst part.

Comment from: Vanessa, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 29

I believe the neurologists who perform electromyograms (EMGs) should be required to have the procedure themselves. And not some quick 15 minute EMG. Sure, if your EMG is a quick check of one particular area, it may be more tolerable. I've had 2, a 3rd has been suggested. The 1st lasted 2 hours, the 2nd, about an hour. Both left me in tears. I recently lost a family member to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), so I understand the importance of EMGs but let's be honest, it's 2020 and time for the medical community to develop a less painful EMG.


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Comment from: Larod125, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 22

I had two herniated discs in my cervical spine that were compressing the nerve for my right hand. I lost strength in my right hand so I had surgery. Right hand has most of the strength back but now it cramps every once in a while and my index finger is not as strong as it used to be. I had an electromyogram (EMG) done in my right arm and it hurt so bad that I had tears rolling down my face. My left arm didn't have any pain with EMG. Didn't find out anything about my right arm or hand.

Comment from: Addie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

After reading these comments I came close to canceling my electromyogram (EMG) appointment and dealing with the pain and numbness in my right thigh. I had an EMG 20 years ago on both hands for carpal tunnel. The only painful part was when the doctor stuck this 3 inch needle in the fatty muscle part of my palm. I had my EMG done on my legs, thighs and feet and only one or two shocks made me jump. Otherwise, I've had flu shots that were worse than this. It all depends on the technician and what your threshold of pain is. So anyone out there wanting to know if it's painful, no, it isn't.

Comment from: KCSunshine, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I've been a diabetic for 40 plus years and received an EMG (electromyogram) on my hands to determine if I had carpal tunnel, pinched nerve or neuropathy. The NCV (nerve conduction study) was painful, but I cried when they did the needles in my hand. This is the 4th day after and my hand is still swollen and bruised. Incidentally, I have no nerve damage, so am thankful for the test results but don't ever want to do it again.

Comment from: Dr. Mahadevan PhD, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: February 25

I had so far 3 EMGs for my neuropathy arising out of compressed spine from cervical to lumbar region. The neurologist opined after the EMGs that the damage cannot be reversed but agreed for a lumbar laminectomy to decompress the lumbar spine. A right total knee replacement has further damaged nerves but at 75 plus I have the confidence to fight with all odds and to face my life cycle with a don't-worry-be-happy attitude.

Comment from: Amygiza, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 15

I had my EMG (electromyogram) done today. It was absolutely horrible! It was like torture. I had it done on both arms. Never ever again!

Comment from: barney, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

I just had an attempt at an EMG (electromyogram) and quit after just 2 shocks. The nurse gave me the shocks on the underside of my wrist and it was painful. She said she can’t have me jumping around so I told her I was done with it and got out of there. I am already diagnosed with stenosis and spinal disease, the doctor was curious about hand numbness, burning down my legs, and weakness. No thanks, they’ll have to sedate me completely next time or it’s not happening.

Comment from: Rgoldorr , 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: November 14

I had both tests, EMG (electromyogram) and nerve conduction study, done on my legs and right arm, it took over two hours and was extremely painful. If they only did in one place it would have been tolerable. You receive some tough electric shocks, and about 30 to 40 needles. Everyone warned me and they were right.

Comment from: Flower girl, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 04

I had an electromyogram (EMG) yesterday. I was terrified after reading so many bad reports online. I was pleasantly surprised, just a tiny bit of discomfort. I think I will never consult doctor Google again. Thank goodness everything going went ok. I would have no problem getting it again.

Comment from: Kimber, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 17

This electromyogram (EMG) test is painful! I had been experiencing muscle cramps prior to having the test done, and the particular muscle that had been cramping, cramped and convulsed worse while the needle was in my leg. It continued to cramp after the needle was removed. Fortunately, the test ruled out any muscle related nerve issues, so no diagnosis for anything that needed to be treated. The doctor recommended magnesium supplements to help with cramping.

Comment from: Tracer 40, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 17

I had electromyogram (EMG) done today and happy to report it wasn’t so bad. I was kind of worried going in due to the stuff people put on the internet. The procedures themselves are tolerable - albeit unpleasant. What really irritates me though is that after completing both parts of the EMG, now my original pain in leg (femoral nerve) has flared back up. It took 2 1/2 months for this leg to feel better after initial sciatica problems. Then the doctor sends me for this test and I’m in a lot of discomfort all over again. Ugh!


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Comment from: Elizabeth Gieder, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 28

I wasn't prepared for the EMG (electromyogram) pain. It only lasts a few seconds but for me personally, it was very painful. Fortunately my doctor says it's an expected level of pain. I have severe and chronic pain from my 7th bone in my neck but it isn't the source of my numbness in my ring and pinkie finger. I would suggest take your partner or someone with you to keep you calm.

Comment from: Painless, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 20

I just had an EKG done yesterday on both my hands. I was a nervous wreck from all the reviews I read. It was extremely easy and not painful, felt weird and had a little discomfort but absolutely nothing to worry about. I never post but I felt I had to for the many people just to tell the truth. I had the needles put in my hands and they're so small you don't even know you're them getting down. Seriously, breathe and most of all don't worry. This is ridiculous to compare it to any type of pain.

Comment from: Pam, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 03

I have had four kids and none of them caused me the type of pain the EMG (electromyogram) did. I just wish someone had been more truthful when I was told there was very little pain. I never want to go through that type of test again. There has to be a better less painful way of determining an injury or nerve damage. I will have to be out cold if it is ever determined I need another one.

Comment from: chris, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 22

My neurologist suspected CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) or possibly POEMS (polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal protein, skin changes) syndrome due to some abnormal thyroid tests and skin manifestations accompanied by horrific neuropathic pain that started on my neck. It feels like I am in an oven. It just burns 24/7. But the doctor is more concerned with the loss of feeling and weakness in the fingers and toes (which really doesn't bother me that much). Anyway, we did an EMG (electromyogram) test in his office. I was not prepared for any tests, let alone one where electric shocks were sent through my body. Other than having an abscessed tooth pulled without novocaine as a child, this was the most painful experience I've ever had. It was even worse than the 24/7 neuropathy. After five minutes I had to have it stopped and walked out of the office. Never again! There has to be a better way to diagnose neurological disorders. Sorry, the reviews that it is not bad, or hardly felt a thing are from people who have lost so much feeling that they don't mind being shocked. It's a horrible test, period.

Comment from: Danielle, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 20

I had an electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) study done today to evaluate muscle weakness in both of my legs. I was terrified after reading comments online, but I found it to be not painful at all. The shocks were the worst part, but they really were not bad. It felt like a static electricity shock. The needles were so thin that I almost didn't feel them. I had read that some people are in pain after the fact too, but so far I feel fine. I have definitely had worse medical procedures in my life. I did take a Xanax prior to going in, so that probably helped somewhat.

Comment from: Bethiepoo2, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 16

I had my electromyogram (EMG) many years ago, and it was very painful as I remember. I was diagnosed with cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, peripheral neuropathy and fibromyalgia so it was worth it to get the test done. Today I have end-stage neuropathy with allodynia. I would probably not ever want to go through this again, doubt I could bear the pain as I am currently. Yes, it is painful, be prepared.

Comment from: Barb A, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

I have chronic pain, so my tolerance is very high. I had an electromyogram (EMG) performed on both legs and feet. The initial phase was uncomfortable, but bearable. The 2nd phase was absolutely torturous! I literally screamed at certain points. The intensity was a 10 plus, plus. I sat in my car and sobbed, afterwards. Oh, and 3 weeks later I still have a tender calf and the sensation that there's still a needle inserted into it. Never ever again.

Comment from: Daisy 59, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 06

I had EMG (electromyogram) on my right hand forearm area. She gave me 2 to 5 big jolts which hurt and I tolerated them. Then came the needles. As she placed them she caused 2 areas to bleed. She said 'so they're needles,' and they are going to bleed on occasion. Then she asked me if I was on blood thinners. Geez!

Comment from: Verushka, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 23

For me, the EMG (electromyogram) was torture, I had a panic attack and quit.

Comment from: NettieD911, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 05

Well people, to be quite frank with you electromyogram (EMG) is extremely painful! Don’t let anyone even try to tell you it’s not painful, because it is! I had a neurologist tell me, oh no this is not painful at all! Well, it was not true.

Comment from: suncita, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 03

I have high tolerance to pain. I just went through the needle EMG (electromyogram) today. I imagined that was the closest I came to torture. I wish I had been warned beforehand. After the first pinch, I refused to continue.

Comment from: Jean, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I had the electromyogram (EMG) test today. I had read these reviews and was extremely anxious. If you need this test, believe me, it was nothing at all like I worried about. A few small quick jolts every so often. I kept waiting to be in great pain. Never happened. The doctor was wonderful. Do not fear this test at all.

Comment from: Patti, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 02

I was very concerned about the level of pain that I would experience with EMG (electromyogram). I was pleasantly surprised! It was not painful at all. It was just a little bit uncomfortable.

Comment from: Twodog, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 28

After reading how horribly painful electromyogram (EMG) test is, I was very apprehensive. First a girl gave my leg some electrical shocks. The first one made my foot jump and I laughed. This part of the test was nothing. So now in comes the doctor with the needles. Oh boy, here it comes. I feel four little pricks to my back and then a few to my right leg. Okay, it is over. What! That was it! That was the torture I have read about. Oh please. It was nothing. So don't be afraid of this test.

Comment from: Constad, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: July 20

I had complete electromyogram (EMG). I was afraid after reading negative responses, it was of so little discomfort, I would not hesitate if had to have it again.

Comment from: SCARED NANA, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

I had and electromyogram (EMG) about 3 years ago and swore I would never go thru one again. I am now newly diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and am facing an EEG and another EMG, ugh! I can’t do this! I don’t know why the doctor needs an EMG; I am confused!

Comment from: Rantin Ricky, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 15

I just had my 2nd electromyogram (EMG). I am 67 year male with low pain tolerance. No problem! Pain was 4/10. Anxiety, apprehension and fear were much worse after reading how bad it could be. Not my experience at all.

Comment from: Sharon, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 26

Electromyogram (EMG) was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. He had to stop after he did both my legs and I was crying my eyes out. I have got to go back in two week to have my arms, neck and face done and I am dreading it, but I need answers and I won’t get them if the test isn’t completed.

Comment from: Matt, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 21

I had an electromyogram (EMG) on both arms and legs today followed by the needle portion/nerve conduction velocity (NCV). The needle portion was not bad and felt like bee stings. I was not prepared for the EMG pain, it seems like each arm got around 50 shocks, with some back to back, and then several (10 zaps, back to back continuous). I felt exhausted after having it performed all over my body. I would compare it to touching an electric fence each time but when performed over all limbs is an exhausting experience. I would rate an 8 out of 10 on pain scale. Apparently the discomfort level varies from patient to patient and didn't bother some, but for other individuals like me it was not pleasant. It took 2 hours to perform EMG and an hour for NCV test for legs and arms.

Comment from: Cj, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I have a very low pain threshold and polyneuropathy in feet and legs. I was set for an electromyogram (EMG), and I was told it wasn't painful. I have low blood pressure also, and would have 5 hours travel and a 9 hour day out for this test, with BP of 70/50 and a 2 hour wait for transit home after testing both legs and feet, after already having 24/7 pain. I opted to cancel for now. Thanks to the posters who were honest with the information.

Comment from: J, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

People should be a lot more educated before they do this electromyogram (EGM) test. It is really easy to describe it as torture, as they would say a little discomfort; ask them to tell the truth when they recommend an EGM test. It is a good way for the hospitals and doctors to collect money from the insurance and it puts you in bad pain, I mean bad pain.

Comment from: kingsfull, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: August 27

The EMG (electromyogram) is totally diagnostic. The remedies, injections, physiotherapy, aspirin are known. For me, surgery is out of the question. With so much pain from EMG why bother with it I don’t understand.

Comment from: Bill, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 08

I had electromyogram (EMG) performed in my left thigh which was already in pain. It’s probably the worst pain I’ve had to endure. I was limping before I went in but by the time I got I couldn’t get out of the car. I just hope I haven’t got to have one again.

Comment from: Tim, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 23

I just had an electromyogram (EMG) done today. It hurt so much I had to wave the white flag and tell her I can't take anymore.