Patient Comments: Electromyogram - Experience


Please describe your experience receiving an electromyogram. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: NCasa2, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 02

Electromyogram was easy. I know I have high pain tolerance, but I really did believe this was going to hurt. It didn't at all. Shocks felt like, when you grab a cart at the store and get slightly zapped. Even when the doctor did it in the same spot on my calf over 20 times (at least), it still didn't hurt. Needles didn't hurt either. Stressed myself out over nothing.

Comment from: Shampit, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 19

Electromyogram experience must depend on your underlying condition - mine remains undiagnosed. My nerve conduction test in 1996 had me screaming for the whole period it was done on my hands. Each time she sent the shock, the pain remained through my nerves. She said I shouldn’t be experiencing any pain with this test. Husband waited for me in the car. I came out wailing with hands in front. Pain took hours to subside but nerve test came back normal! I still suffer tingling and discomfort and numbness today.

Comment from: kjrep, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 16

I had my electromyogram (EMG) done a couple of days ago for lower extremities. I used a medical doctor, not a technician. This test was painful for me. I have a low threshold of pain and do not even like to have a massage, let alone shocks to my system. I got a charley horse during the procedure which only made the experience worse. The results are only as reliable as the operator. I will never have another one.

Comment from: Mr Bass, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 11

Electromyogram experience was crazy, but my doctor was great, thank goodness. The needle part at the end was not too bad, and of course I did not look, but feeling the small needle go deeper and deeper was crazy. I kept waiting for the worst pain to come as he went deeper into my neck but it never arrived. The beginning was like, ‘get me out of here!’ Torture like this is even legal? Maybe if I stuck my finger in a socket and cranked up the voltage I would have been prepared. Thank goodness it is over.

Comment from: Elaena, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 30

I've had two of these electromyogram (EMG) tests. Both times the test was excruciating. I screamed through the entire nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test and was in too much pain to have the EMG part. I was in a cold sweat and my heart was pounding. I felt violated and traumatized. Every time the doctor applied a shock it hurt so much. This test is torture and the fact that it's described as 'mild discomfort' is a blatant lie. They should offer sedation or pain medication for this.

Comment from: Retired Nurse , 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 13

It was many years ago when I was in my thirties that I had this electromyogram test, an “insurance doctor” wanted it (right lower leg nerve damage by injury while working on State property). Then my regular doctor wanted another one when I was 53. I said respectfully no way! The first was torture to me, I believe it has to do with how many needle sticks and how many shocks the doctor gives you and how much you personally can take… a few, no problem, but many can feel like torture.

Comment from: MP EMS PSA announcer, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 18

I had electromyogram 3 times and each time the doctor jabbed the stimulator wand into my ulnar nerve extremely deep, cranked the dial up willy-nilly basically, and went click. That's when I screamed we're done and walked out. The outcome was the same for all 3 tests. Also, there's a bunch of information and studies that have been conducted that show that they're not effective. Do some googling before just taking the prescription and just signing up to be cattle prodded for an hour.

Comment from: AnxiousMama, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 24

My electromyogram (EMG) was scheduled about a month ago. I was so anxious and stressed after reading so many fearful comments over the last few weeks. The day came and I went in almost teary. The fellow who did mine was very good. He wasn't the most talkative but to me, the uncomfortable part was some of the shocks. I said he shouldn't call them needles, because they are more like quick sticks. I didn't count the 'sticks' but he was right, it was like a mild bee sting maybe. Don't be afraid like I was. Try to relax.

Comment from: Danh, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 22

Based on the comments I expected that an electromyogram (EMG) would be a very painful experience. My blood pressure was 150/90 just before the test. It's normally 125/80. They were concerned and almost cancelled the EMG. The electric shocks were uncomfortable but bearable. The needle portion was nothing. Overall it was much worrying over nothing.


Muscle Cramps (Charley Horse) and Muscle Spasms See Slideshow
Comment from: Diane, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

I underwent an electromyogram (EMG) this morning. Never had I experienced such pain. Childbirth is a cakewalk compared to this. The doctor was all business and had no interest in answering any of my questions. It was the longest 80 minutes of my life. The pain was horrible. Such a barbaric procedure! Warning to anyone who is told to undergo this - simply say no.

Comment from: Cm, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 08

I had really no expectation going into my electromyogram but I have an opinion now. I truly felt violated during and after the fact. My back was turned to the doctors and I was being repeatedly poked but in a way that felt dehumanizing. I became hot and uncomfortable and that was worse than the pain. I cried the whole drive home. I called after and the medical assistant laughed at me for being worried about the pain I was experiencing. I now cannot get ahold of the doctor and will warn everyone I know to never go through with it.

Comment from: Fawnalie, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

Everyone gets electromyograms (EMGs) for different reasons. Some are more sensitive to pain in these areas which is why they’re being tested, so don’t be nervous to get one. It’s important to do if you’re hoping to find a diagnosis for an undiagnosed illness. I had mine today and it wasn’t bad at all. I’m more nervous for the results than I was for the test that ran 2.5 hours.

Comment from: Ziggy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

Today I had my electromyogram (EMG). The test was completed to look for cause of pain/numbness in both feet. This felt like a TENS treatment. The worst part when the technician kept going to the back of the calf. Then the neurologist did the nerve study. It took less than 5 minutes. No needles were inserted, he didn't ask me to move the muscle. He said my test were fine. I had these test done over 20 years ago, from my feet to my head. It was super painful. My husband had this done for carpal tunnel and he said it was excruciating.

Comment from: prisciall G, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I just had an electromyogram (EMG), and not as bad as perceived it would be from reading forums and reviews of patients. After the nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test, which was fine, the doctor came in and did the EMG, which took about ten minutes only. Maybe it was the good skills of the technician, but it was no way as bad as I thought. I had 5 needles into my leg for assessment of back issue pain. Glad it's over, because I was worried needlessly. Hope all have a good result and not much pain during the test.

Comment from: Acc, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 26

I had an electromyogram (EMG) done for a pinched nerve that ran down the leg. There were 2 tests, one test was the electrodes that zapped both areas of my legs, which was the worst of the 2 tests, but not that bad. Then the final test in which the doctor put a needle in all the areas of my lower back and leg, which was not bad at all. My issue was, that night, I felt sick with the chills for about 2 hours, but felt better the next day.

Comment from: lzs, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

I’ve had two electromyograms/nerve conduction studies (EMG/NCS) done. I’m 19 and have had a pinched nerve in my leg for 4 years, I’d say I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I don’t mean to scare anyone but this was honestly some of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. I cried through the entire thing and when I had a needle stuck into one of my hips, I gasped from pain and just about punched the wall I was facing. I’d avoid getting one done if I can. They’re awful.

Comment from: AKC, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 16

I had electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction study (NCS) yesterday. I mentioned I was nervous due to online comments, and was told not to worry. They tested my arms and legs. I changed to a gown and submerged my limbs in warm water for 8 minutes. NCS was done first, and felt like TENS treatments; not painful. The doctor did the EMG. Felt some insertions of needle but not all. They went very slowly, and it not even as painful as a vaccination or blood draw. Location matters. They didn't do behind the knee because the technician said it was painful.

Comment from: Kasia, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 07

I spent a sleepless night worrying about my electromyogram (EMG) after reading all these comments. When I got to my appointment I told the medical resident that I have no tolerance for pain, so please start very slowly because I might not be able to finish this test. I could not call this a painful procedure. I fell asleep half way as it took almost 60 minutes. He checked my hands and legs. The test felt exactly as I would be using a TENS device on the lowest setting. Do not waste time worrying, it's nothing!


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Comment from: Angeldust, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I had no idea what I was walking into when I went for my electromyogram. I have a high pain tolerance, I gave birth naturally, had cancer and a lot of procedures in my life, but this one takes the cake for the worst pain ever. Shocking was bad from my feet to my back, almost unbearable, but I got through it. It faded away fast but the 5-inch metal needle that went all the way in on every inch of my body from bottom and top of my feet to my back was horrible. I was left bleeding and cried trying to drive home. The pain is no joke.

Comment from: EMG, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 26

I went with the mindset that the electromyogram wasn't going to be bad. But my personal experience was that the shocks were startling and jolting. It was involuntary and the technician was looking at me like I was acting bad. The technician said I was one of the worst at handing the test that she's had. I told her if she doesn't understand, I don't understand myself. Many varying reactions here.

Comment from: Tortured by Doctors , 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 19

My electromyogram (EMG) was very painful. I was expecting far fewer shocks but received over 100. The first few weren’t bad, but on each nerve they were cranked up until it felt like someone was beating my leg with a switch. I involuntarily yelped in pain several times. The needles were far more painful than any shot or IV I’ve ever had. Some weren’t awful, but others were severely painful when the doctor moved them around. It wasn’t the worst medical procedure I’ve been through, but it was inhumane.

Comment from: Sieg73, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

I went in with a mindset that the electromyogram wasn't going to be that bad. I first got shocks done which were not that bad. Then the needle... oh my goodness, I have a high pain tolerance but when he stuck the needle in my calf and told me to flex my foot up, it was the worst pain ever. I cried. He told me to do it again in a different spot and it just felt like my calf muscle was being ripped out. The left was bad too but not as bad. He then stuck my lower back in three areas. Moving the needle around. My calf still hurts.

Comment from: Sindy, 55-64 (Patient) Published: March 03

Everyone has different experiences. My electromyogram results are severe. Surgery as soon as possible. I have shocks and aches. The procedure wasn't terrible for me. And there is no need to slap someone for having different effects.

Comment from: Eileen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 15

I have to comment after reading these remarks and having my electromyogram (EMG) this morning. I had about 12 to 15 shocks and then 5 needles, both in my left leg. My doctor used a freeze spray before the needles. I was scared to death after reading these experiences. I barely felt anything. I’d say 1.5 on 10. Don’t be scared! It was nothing to lose sleep over.

Comment from: tg, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 11

I had an electromyogram and was tested on both my hands and arms, receiving 58 shocks of varying degrees on each side (116 total shocks). Next, I had (low current) stimulation on my arms and on my neck. Third, needles were inserted near my neck and into my arms/hands while I was directed to flex my hand. The insertion on my palm was super painful. When it finally ended, I lay there and cried. I continued to cry during my drive home and several times later that day. I feel as if I was tortured physically and mentally.

Comment from: Lisa, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 22

I've had my electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests. Although uncomfortable, I wouldn’t say either was painful. I don’t understand why they turn up the shock level on some areas and not others; and why they work one area more than others; or why the neurologist has to discuss the results with you when the technician said at the start, we'll discuss the results at the end. I wonder if anyone been told during this test that they have muscles missing!

Comment from: Carrie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I just got back from my electromyogram (EMG). I don't know why everyone is posting that it was so terrible. Mine wasn't bad at all. I didn't even feel any of the needles and the shocks weren't nearly as bad as I was expecting. I was so worried about it because I read the stories here before my test. It turned out that it was definitely nothing to worry about.

Comment from: Samue;, 55-64 (Patient) Published: October 22

I had an electromyogram (EMG) today. I warned my new doctors that I was injured by an EMG 20 years ago. We could not finish even one leg on the conductivity test. I had 9/10 on pain. The pain level depends on the underlying condition being treated. Yours may be 1/10. Good luck but if it knocks you off the table and you kick the doctor, time to stop.

Comment from: Pammy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 14

I just had my electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction tests done on my legs and feet. On a scale of 1-10 the discomfort was a 2. I read all the comments about how painful it was and it was nothing like that. I barely felt the needle. The nerve test was not bad at all. I think it might depend on the area and who is doing the test.

Comment from: Brenda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 29

I had an electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction study a few months ago. The two procedures did not bother me at all the day they were performed. They were done on my leg and foot. The next day, I had extreme pain and called the doctor. He sent in prednisone but it took about 3 days for the pain to subside. The doctor had no explanation for the pain. The two tests showed nothing unusual and he said all looked good. I still am having pain in my two feet and have been to 4 specialists without a diagnosis.

Comment from: 19 fractured bones, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 17

I was in an auto accident, a rear-ended vehicle knocked me over 1/10 of a mile from the point of impact. Doctors missed numerous injuries due to major swelling and tissue damage, I was told. I had 5 fractured cervical vertebrae, 2 electromyogram (EMG) tests, the first in 1996, 2nd in 2018, and in the last one they used synthetic needles, they aren’t as painful as steel needles upon insertion. I had severe pain in both tests though, and the next day it felt like I was beat with a baseball bat.

Comment from: Feemac121, Female (Patient) Published: August 24

I am 5 months post operation with my right hip replacement surgery. Straight after I got out of the hospital, my father passed with COVID-19 and my mother 4 months before, so I was kind of giving up inside, but I was fortunate with only the usual aches and pains, and a few sleepless nights. I now feel good enough to walk an hour daily, and do usual chores. I have healed beautifully, so far so good; onwards and upwards.

Comment from: Shonda , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 09

This electromyogram (EMG) test was not hurtful at all. The needle in the muscles didn’t hurt either. But I need elbow surgery as soon as possible. Now I definitely dread that and I hope I’m knocked out during surgery.

Comment from: AnnB, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I had an electromyogram (EMG) on both legs this morning. I had one on my arms years ago. Reading these comments left me a bit scared. The shocks were nothing but a little surprising each time he did it. I was aware of the needle insertions but it just wasn't that painful. A couple of muscles on my lower leg hurt and I guess maybe he moved the needle around like another person said, but I didn't look and the discomfort did not feel like he was moving the needle, but maybe like pressure. It's not that bad.

Comment from: Dee Dee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 17

Well, the nerve conduction test only really hurt at my thumb, elbow and the center of my palm. It feels a lot like being buzzed by an electric shaver. Be aware that they will crank you up. The needle EMG… it feels like a hot wire is being introduced into your muscle. And then they move it. If not for the pre-medication of 5 mg Valium, I would not have been able to complete the test… and I have chronic head pain. I have multiple bruises and muscle pain, and it has been a week.

Comment from: Lamearmgal, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 02

The electric shock part of the electromyogram is not bad, the needle part will make you give them every password and every pin you have ever sworn to secrecy. Have someone drive you so you can go in drunk enough to either not feel the pain, or not remember when you stand up and punch the staff in the face after they hit a nerve twisting the needle out of your already pained muscle. Have you ever heard of those bright red fuzzy bugs in the south we call 'cow killers’? Cow Killers, feasting on your flesh. Yup.

Comment from: LSwartz, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 07

I went to get an electromyogram and it was way too painful. I have had three children. This was awful. I see another neurologist this month, hopefully it goes better. My question here is if people that complain that they had pain and issues, actually had issues. I am also wondering about the results of those that didn’t experience pain. From what I see they have no diagnosis posted.

Comment from: Anonymous , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

I tried everything for my Bartholin cyst, from sitz baths multiple times a day, tea tree oil, heat packs, warm washes, etc. I just got a marsupialization today and it’s the biggest relief of my life! I was at a pain level of 10 the past few days and now it’s 1 due to the cut and stitches. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come back or I’ll definitely remove the whole gland.

Comment from: Trvlr76 , 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 19

I was not told by my neurologist what I would experience during an electromyogram test. The electrode portion was uncomfortable, but bearable. When he said needles, I pictured acupuncture. I consider myself to have an extremely high tolerance for pain. When he stuck the needle in the fat pad under my thumb, moved and twisted it, while telling me to push up to flex, I thought my soul died a little. This same activity continued up my arm. It was excruciating. Now my arm feels like it still has the needle in it.

Comment from: EQ, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 31

I was expecting an electromyogram to be something along the lines of a TENS machine. The nerve conduction test was like the TENS machine being turned up to 9/10. Bearable. Then the doctor asked if I was ok with needles. Yeah, fine. My problem is in C6 in my neck and I've had acupuncture so thought it would be like that. Upper arm was exactly like that but with electrical stimulation. Forearm was agony. Two hours later I still feel as though the needle is embedded and the neuropathy/pins and needles are back with a vengeance.

Comment from: Tunaman, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 28

Nerve conduction study is the most horrible experience ever in my life. I'm an extreme athlete, and I've tolerated pain with injury many times. During the electromyogram, at the third jolt of electricity the doctor told me not to kick him. By the seventh jolt I was crying and I was told if I didn't cooperate we will not continue. I said then we were not continuing, the electricity was jolting me off the table. My results were good but it was the most horrible experience I've ever had.

Comment from: Chris , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

Never again! I was told an electromyogram was mildly uncomfortable, big fat lie. It was a horrific experience. I started crying within 3 minutes of the test and the doctor actually seemed annoyed. It’s been three days and I’m in more pain than before the test. Don’t get this test if it can be avoided. Torture!

Comment from: Matt1009, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: November 25

I had the electromyogram (EMG) today and wow, I was not prepared! The shocks were tolerable, as I cannot feel my leg at all. The arm wasn't great but was okay. Once the needle portion began, ouch! They started with the arm and feeling them push it in further and all around in different spots was horrible. I was trying to hold back tears but I couldn't stop them by the last arm one. And I have a high pain tolerance! The leg was fine as I couldn't feel it. But overall it wasn't pleasant. My arm is still very sore.

Comment from: Fastlane74, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I had an electromyogram (EMG) conducted on both sides of my body on different days. The first side was not too bad until the technician tested my calf area; it was the most painful because she repeated the shock about 6 to 7 times. I believe my muscles were not responding as she thought they should. The doctor performed the needle test and they were like little pricks, not bad at all. My second visit for the other side of the body was a far worse experience! I had more pain from the electrical shocks, especially in my calf.

Comment from: Jax1978, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I've come to realize everyone's experience is different because I asked others I know if an electromyogram is painful, and they said no (3 of them). I got it done yesterday, and the pain was horrible. I'd like to think I have a high tolerance for pain. The shocks weren't bad for me and the needle insertion was only mildly painful, but when they moved the needle around in my arm and told me to flex, it was horrible. And they had to keep searching a while in my arm to find a good spot. I'm still in pain today and nauseous.

Comment from: Jennieg, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

I found the electromyogram (EMG) pretty painful - not the worst pain ever but still enough to make me feel that I was in shock afterwards, and really wish I'd gone to the appointment with a friend. I had no real expectation of pain beforehand, and I'm very good at tolerating injections but I particularly found the needles in my calf during the EMG to be painful. I found that as the reading was abnormal the technician needed to maneuver the needle more there too. Fortunately it was of short duration.

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

My electromyogram (EMG) was extremely painful, 8/10, and I'll never do it again. I don't have needle phobia, I didn't know anything about EMG beforehand, not even about the needles. The electricity didn't hurt but the needle movements made me quit after a full-blown panic attack. It wasn't as horrible as getting a copper IUD (intrauterine device) which absolutely traumatized me so I'll never give birth naturally. That pain was demonic, full 10. I wish someone had warned me in both cases. And my tests came out normal, sigh.

Comment from: Angie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I tore the muscle in my ankle 9 months ago, and I have been in agony ever since. I had electromyogram and nerve conduction study done today and was petrified after listening to all the horror stories that people were telling me. But they was wrong, don't get me wrong, it was uncomfortable but bearable. It was funny watching my foot jumping around when it got a shock, I walked out of there limping the same way I walked in, no extra pain added. So just be brave and go through the motions.

Comment from: Rosa, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I refused to continue and left. I couldn't bear the electromyogram. I don't believe I'm the only one. Wonder what you can do if you are unable to do this test, need to find out if it can be done under general anesthesia.

Comment from: Sarahkate, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I will not return to my neurologist. My electromyogram was to find why I had all over lower body cramps, numbness, tingling and weakness but oddly no pain and no swelling, just spasticity and the rest. My neurologist did not disclose how painful the test is or I would have refused the test. The neurologist did not disclose the after effects or I would have refused the test. I did not have any pain or any swelling before the test. I am in my third day of post-test agony and it is worse by the hour. I fired the doctor, but now what!

Comment from: Muddled, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I've had three nerve conduction tests in the past fifteen years. The first two electromyograms were uncomfortable, but quite bearable. The third one was excruciating and I was in tears from the pain. I go for my fourth next week and dreading it.

Comment from: Abigail, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I had electromyogram in my calves, ankles and feet done today and it hurt like crazy. I prepared by taking Advil and Valium beforehand. I have to go back next week for upper body which I hear is worse so am dreading it. There was some blood on the table and scratches, pricks and bruises on my body where they made contact. A real mess. I am just going to have to suck it up for the next time. I didn’t cry until I got to my car. For anyone who says it didn’t hurt; you didn’t get what I got!

Comment from: Scott1, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 21

I am a larger sized male about 380 lb. I ruptured my left quadriceps so the doctor ordered an electromyogram (EMG). I did not mind the second part where the needles were inserted, but it was the first part where he shocked me. I was trying to be masculine and joke around but it hurt badly. I can remember telling the doctor it hurt. He tried to make the situation less awkward through conversation. I can remember seeing and feeling the pain as my leg would jump away from the doctor at the point of contact.

Comment from: FOR THE CAUSE, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 20

I didn't expect the electromyogram to be so painful; if I had known, I would've taken my morning medicines, which may've taken the edge off of those pin-sticks in my legs! I had to go home and get in the bed because I was in pain; I'm still not quite my normal self! I realize that it had to be done to find out what is causing the numbness and pain in my thigh after my anterior total hip replacement. I have no quality of life; I just want to be able to get back to my normal peaceful life pre-surgery, cooking and things.

Comment from: Jeweliegwen, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

Reading through the comments here you will realize that some people say the electromyogram (EMG) test is a piece of cake and just felt a little funny, while others say it was the most horrible pain they ever felt. Going into this test you have to realize that if you do have nerve problems, then yes, it could hurt badly. If you went through the test and it didn’t hurt, that is awesome for you, but don’t dismiss all the people on this thread that did go through agony having this done. My test was pretty horrible.

Comment from: MaJen, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I've had several nerve studies along with electromyograms. They are not bad at all. Considering the agonizing pain from the 3 herniated discs in the lumbar spine that's causing nerve compression and a hip labrum tear, I could do these tests all day every day. My only problem I had this time was that several of my muscles immediately cramped as soon as the needle was inserted and then others wouldn't relax after she was finished testing them. I'm almost positive I failed this one with flying colors.

Comment from: 22OK22, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 23

The electromyogram test is definitely not pleasant, however, it is tolerable. I have had the test done on two different occasions on both legs. I absolutely hate being shocked so even though the needles going into the muscle hurt a little more I think the shocks were worst (and I know it’s all mental). It’s similar to getting a tattoo in a sensitive spot, except a lot quicker.

Comment from: JJ , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

I think everyone’s experience is different depending on a variety of things from placement of needle to pre-existing conditions. I had the EMG (electromyogram) and NCV (nerve conduction study) procedures with the needle in my hand to test for multiple sclerosis. The procedure was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life and I’ve had two children, broken bones, and a blood clot in my leg! The worst part was the neurologist’s dismissive attitude to my pain. Perhaps he was trying to save face since my husband who’s a physician himself was in the room.

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

I had an electromyogram (EMG) and it is the most painful experience of my life, I can honestly say it was worse than natural child birth. That was 2 months ago, and my biceps and triceps are still in pain from where he inserted the needle, or stuck it in my arm like a dart, and then he had me flex my muscle. I had excruciating pain, now I have an infection in my bicep and it has broken out with a rash. I am going back to the doctor soon, but I would advise anyone not to have any nerve conduction tests. Good luck all.

Comment from: Kerts71, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 09

I had Guillain-Barre syndrome as a child and had multiple electromyograms (EMG). They were so horrific that my mom couldn’t bear to be in the room with me. My dad had to hold my arms down as I screamed and cried. In fact just hearing the story scared my sister enough that she’s never been to a doctor. I’m 47 now but the trauma from that is still crystal clear. I have lupus with peripheral neuropathy. I am scheduled for another EMG. I know that it won’t be as scary as it was for a child but I’m seriously dreading it. Wonder if I need Xanax.

Comment from: Bluj1279, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 14

The first part of electromyogram for me (where they shock you) was unbearable. I could not complete it. After only a few shocks I had to stop. To me it was like being tasered. I ended up having an anxiety attack afterwards. Everyone is going to handle this test differently. I have a horrible nerve disorder and don’t know if I will be able to retry it, even with sedatives. I will attempt to reschedule and hope that I can do it. On a 1 to 10 pain scale, I told the nurse it was a 12! Most unbelievable pain ever for me.

Comment from: Jenjin, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 25

I had an electromyogram (EMG today and it was not that bad. I was even joking around with the doctor and kind of found it interesting. I read a bunch of these scary comments last night and barely slept from fear. I almost cancelled but I'm glad I didn't because it really didn't hurt. Doctor told me he's done over 3500 EMGs and has only had 4 people make him stop. They were all men.

Comment from: Lou, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 21

I had the nerve conduction study and electromyogram done yesterday. I didn't know what to expect. I asked him if it will hurt. He said no. I held back the tears. It hurt so bad, I couldn't wait till it was done. It is 24 hours later, and I think I'm am getting reminiscing pain. He did the testing on both arms and then neck and shoulders. I'm getting pain in all the areas tested.

Comment from: Truth teller, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

I had the electromyogram test done to determine what was causing the numbness in my fingers, and clumsiness. I really did not want to have this test done but I needed answers. The test was a very difficult one to complete. It was painful. Afterwards I experienced itching from the needles and lumps from where they had placed the needles in my muscles. I was sore. I just returned home and now I'm lying down.

Comment from: Jan, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 01

I just left from attempting to be tested. The electromyogram technician, in my opinion, had that machine turned up too high. She should have started it low then increased. I told her I refused to do the test once she informed me she has to do it at an even higher dosage. The doctor that does the second part came in the room to speak with me and I told him no also. It does hurt, at least that is what I experienced.

Comment from: DD, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 31

I believe people experience pain differently. I could tolerate the needles up and down my arm but when the needle was stabbed into the palm of my hand I couldn't continue the electromyogram test. It might have helped if I had some warning. I like that these posts are real experiences.

Comment from: Joseph Garcia, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 07

I had an electromyogram done today and feel it's not as accurate as an MRI. My shoulder feels like it has something torn in it but after my EMG procedure the doctor said I was fine. Fine, really! He just said to take it up with my primary care doctor.

Comment from: Kk, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 02

The electromyogram was the worst pain of my life. I have had broken bones, blood clots in the leg and lungs, pancreatitis, gallstones, and a herniated disc in the past. I suffer from diabetes, fibromyalgia, and pre-cancer, but nothing could prepare me for this amount of pain. I almost blacked out during the test and the people who conducted it had zero compassion. To the people who think those with bad experiences are spreading fear and misinformation, I say shame on you. Everyone and every experience is different.

Comment from: Dswanson, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 26

After being misdiagnosed with trigger thumb 7 months ago I had an electromyogram. The doctor enjoys torture. He kept turning up the voltage until I was crying and kicking the wall. I told him to stop. I refused the last needle. He left me bleeding on the table from the needles. This is torture and you should get a sedative prior to it being performed. Should not be legal. This is the second time I've had it done and it was worse than I remembered. Or the doctor enjoys torture.

Comment from: kelli, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 21

My electromyogram was a nightmare, I was screaming and in tears. I had severe pain for 6 weeks after the test. I hate doctors.

Comment from: DrSuz18, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 12

I was terrified after reading some of the posts on this site about the electromyograms, so much that I almost cancelled my appointment. I have a low tolerance for pain, so thought it would be too much. But, I knew I needed to get it done, so I was brave and went. I am so glad that I did, because it was easier than some people made it seem. You will feel little shocks, but after the first few, you get used to them. And the needles are very thin. So, just breathe and it will be over before you know it!

Comment from: katie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 27

I am dismayed that people are creating fear about electromyogram here. I had this test today in several places. It really was nothing, just a little weird, not even uncomfortable. If it was painful it would warrant a local anesthetic; it doesn't. Please don't worry if you are having this done.

Comment from: j, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 21

During the electromyogram test it was not too bad, I had it done in my left hand from elbow to my fingertips due to slipped disc in my neck. I am not joking, the pain afterwards! No one should get this test done, I'm not joking, and find out afterwards they were just looking for more information and didn't know either slipped disc before they did the test. My hand is throbbing as I'm typing this with my right hand and pain from the slipped disc is bad when your turn and twist, but after the test it's just constant.

Comment from: JoD, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

After reading most of the comments on electromyogram here I was very anxious about my nerve study today. I must say it was tolerable and I’ve had much more painful things, i.e. shingles, migraines, gall bladder attacks, nerve blocks, costochondritis, gastroparesis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout, just to name some and put in perspective. Do not worry about these 2 tests.

Comment from: Dah, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 20

I had the electromyogram several days ago in my lower leg/foot. I asked my doctor if it would be painful and he said no. It shouldn’t be. Well, the doctor who performed my test put it to me. It was horrible and at some point I broke down in tears. I am not a crier and can endure a lot of pain. After bringing me to tears he said to get a better read, we need to do a muscle test where I put the electrodes in the muscles of your feet. I said absolutely not! I will never subject myself to that torture ever.

Comment from: Lora, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I had an electromyogram last week and left shaking my head. The pain was either barely there or so bad it made my legs jump and kick. This was in no way controlled by me. My left leg jerked and kicked more than the right, significantly. The doctor said that the results were pretty good. How is that possible when both legs behaved differently!

Comment from: Cvava, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I was very fearful of my first electromyogram in my legs after researching comments regarding the pain. I could not believe, as many of you have said how easy it was. So when I was scheduled to have my arms done due to pinched nerves in my neck, I was not fearful at all. Well, it was the most horrible thing I have ever been through. I was in tears and pain for hours afterwards. I read someone’s comment that said, if you don’t have damage, it doesnt hurt much, the worse damage the more pain, perhaps that’s the reason.

Comment from: Muscle disease guy, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

I've had an electromyogram (EMG) with nerve conduction study done twice, testing the muscles in my legs and arms. The nerve conduction studies didn't bother me at all; just a slightly weird sensation, no pain. The first EMG caused no pain whatsoever; I could hardly feel the needles. The second EMG didn't hurt at first, but the last few needle sticks were painful; fairly bad, sudden, sharp pain, but only lasting a second or two. Even with those last few painful needles, for me the test wasn't a big deal.

Comment from: Torture is us, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 30

I had an electromyogram earlier this year prior to surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. It was absolute torture; despite my obvious distress, the neurologist never expressed concern. Abu Ghraib prison comes to mind. I was so disoriented and terrorized afterward, I should not have attempted driving, as I could not focus and came close to causing an accident. Eventually I found myself near a shopping mall, pulled into a parking lot, and shuddered for some time. Never again.

Comment from: Lisa, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

I was terrified after reading some of these comments on here, so got the ok to take a Xanax prior to the electromyogram test and it wasn’t that bad. I am terrified of needles but it really wasn’t bad. The worst one was in my shoulder but it was very quick. I had it done at a clinic in Jacksonville and they were very good. If you are having anxiety about it, ask your doctor for a Xanax to take before you go and this was my saving grace!

Comment from: Jess, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 19

I had an electromyogram test in both my hands today and it was painful. The needle portion especially. The shocks were, for lack of a better word, shocking, but it made me laugh more than scream because I wasn't expecting it. However, the needles hurt so much. One in particular in my right thumb. It still hurts a few hours later.

Comment from: Heart, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

After undergoing both the nerve conduction and electromyogram tests I felt so much anxiety, I was nauseous and finally felt relief after vomiting. I was grateful that my husband drove me home because I was disoriented and in pain as the test caused a flare up of my spinal stenosis. All this to learn that I have carpal tunnel syndrome. I will never submit myself to this torturous test again, if I can help it.

Comment from: Dobiegirl, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I had an electromyogram today on my lower leg and I have to say reading all these posts about it being so painful and even getting posttraumatic stress disorder shocks me. I even told the doctor, ‘wow, that was not so bad at all.’ Maybe whoever did your tests did not know what they were doing. For me it was no big deal and I deal with pain every day all day 24/7; don't fret it was not bad at all!

Comment from: nyjarc, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 03

I had an electromyogram test yesterday and after reading some of the comments I was terrified. For me there was no pain at all. It was a little uncomfortable but that's it. I had the testing for a pinched nerve in my neck. There might be other areas that are more sensitive and more painful depending where the problem is but for me there was no pain. My suggestion is, don't stress yourself out.

Comment from: Alison, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

I had an electromyogram a month ago in my temple and forehead and today in my legs and arms. I am so glad that I did not research first. I found the tests very easy to tolerate and would not hesitate to repeat if required.

Comment from: Shell, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 05

The electromyogram test wasn't painful for me. If I have to have it done again I would. My mother had it done a couple of months ago and she liked it. Me not so much. But it didn't hurt me.

Comment from: Princess, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 05

The electromyogram test was painful and the nerve conduction velocity test was extremely painful, like torture. I can't believe that doctors will allow this test. I now have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) because of that test. I cry every time I think about what I was put through. On top of that the male doctor yelled at me to relax. I would like to give him the test and see if he can relax. Don't have the test, it is torture.

Comment from: PTL, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 30

I had an electromyogram (EMG) test done yesterday. I had developed a fear of the procedure after reading many testimonials on the internet about painful experiences many people have undergone. I must tell you that I have had significantly more pain with acupuncture treatments than with the EMG test. The procedure was uncomfortable, but not painful. I have had neuropathy in my right heel for over a year. So, the nerve conduction velocity study and EMG test results were helpful in ruling out some possible causes.

Comment from: Vali, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 30

I had my electromyogram test today. I had worked myself up reading testimonials online. It was very overrated. The shocks were small irritants. My brain barely had the chance to process pain because they were over in no time. The popping noises in between were more bothersome. The needle portion was last. There was slight burning upon insertion and a dull aching while flexing the muscles. I strongly encourage anyone facing this procedure to not read other persons’ experiences. No fear that way.

Comment from: LPB, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 24

I had my electromyogram test yesterday. After having my left arm tortured with the needles, I asked if I could postpone the right. The doctor talked me into having the right done then, and it was much different from the left - much less painful. This morning my left arm feels like it’s been through a wringer, as well as having the feeling of being cold. I sure hope this is temporary!

Comment from: Becca55, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 24

I had my electromyogram done almost 3 months ago now. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced. On a scale from 1 to 10 it was a 10 plus. Before the test I had a little pins and needles feeling in my toes and feet. Now I'm having pain all over my toes, feet, and legs. It now has also moved to my stomach, arms and hands. There are times I can't even put any pressure down on my feet. I also am experiencing a stabbing piercing sharp pain on top of my feet. I don't sleep from the pain. I have spinal stenosis and 2 bulging discs plus arthritis all in my back. I have bursitis in my hips and spinal stenosis in my neck.

Comment from: Tstano77, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 23

If someone says they would do an electromyogram again, I don’t believe it. I’ve had 10 surgeries and this was worse. The most horrible part was I asked the doctor to stop and he ignored me. I asked a second time and told him I didn’t want to continue the test and he ignored me. I then said it a 3rd time, to stop immediately, and he kept going. There was no nurse in the room to help me. I was never so terrified. I had 3 nightmares the day after test. I’m thinking about counseling.

Comment from: Rellik0078 , 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 16

I got an electromyogram 3 days ago and let's just be completely 100 percent honest. It hurt terribly; pure agony, pure torture and I just don't understand why doctors force you to do things like this when they know it is going to cause pain when they should have given you a shot of morphine or Dilaudid or even a muscle relaxant to calm your pain. I mean out of 10 I would probably give it an 8, that's how bad it was. I can't explain the pain. But By the end of the 20 minutes I was in tears crying.

Comment from: Kalynn0225, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 16

I had an electromyogram today with electrodes and then needles checking for carpal tunnel. The electrodes were not too bad. A few were more painful. I thought my hand reflexes might slap the doctor! The needles were the worst; inserted in the fleshy part of the palm below the thumb, then moved around. Horribly painful. Had to do the right hand twice, then the left. Honestly an 11 on the pain scale. Also did the muscles in my upper arm. Not too bad there. Afterwards I sat in my car and cried for 15 minutes.

Comment from: Bob V., 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 10

Just got back from an electromyogram (EMG) test for carpal tunnel syndrome. For those of you worried about the pain, don't be! The electric shocks are an irritant at worst and not painful at all. In fact, I imagine them to be akin to what you would receive if you had purchased one of those late night infomercial muscle relaxant machines. The needles don't even feel like a skin pinch. In closing, truly, getting a tooth frozen at the dentist is a whole lot worse than the EMG test. Don't lose any sleep over it.

Comment from: wcrtc, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 09

I had my first electromyogram and nerve conduction velocity test today. It was unpleasant. I would do it again if I had to, but hopefully never again. It wasn’t that painful for me, but very unnerving. After the test I had burning sensations and a general tired feeling in my legs and feet. The bad part was the anxiety attack I had while sitting in my car in the parking lot of the facility where the test was done. You may want to get someone to drive you if anxiety is an issue. Have no idea why it freaked me out so bad, but it did.

Comment from: Hastyslow, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 02

I had an electromyogram yesterday and while the test was annoying it was never really painful. It did cause extreme tiredness on the day, I slept from 2:30 that afternoon until 6:30 the next morning! I was completely wiped out. I also woke up with a terrible headache and it aggravated an issue in my neck which is so painful it actually knocks me off my feet. Normally happens 1 or 2 times a month but happened 4 times yesterday! It did diagnose chronic C7 radiculopathy and chronic pain syndrome so was worth it. MRI to come.

Comment from: Vance, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 23

I have had excruciating pain ever since my doctor has given me the electromyogram test. I have been taking pain medicine for the last three years, and my pain had subsided or had been camouflaged by the medicines. All of a sudden I had an accident with a car and my pain increased. Now my doctor gives me this test electromyogram where he sticks his pins of some sort in my L5 and S1, and now my pain is excruciating and running down my leg way worse than ever in my life. I don’t know what to do next!

Comment from: Annee, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 23

After reading these dire reports, I was very concerned about the pain of an electromyogram (EMG) procedure. I didn't find it at all painful - the shots were like acupuncture shots and the electric impulse was no more than that. I assume that not all procedures or pain levels are alike but from my experience, it was not a big deal at all.

Comment from: marydee, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 17

I have had numerous electromyograms (EMGs) over the past 20 years and have a high tolerance for pain. No pain medicines when I gave birth to my 3rd child, so I know pain well! EMGs are very tolerable except for the back of the knee. Weird, I had one today and they held the shock in place for several minutes! Each knee. Pain scale 10 in the left knee and 8 in the right. I will never do another EMG. I can’t sleep because it still hurts like crazy! I think it depends on the technician, same reason why getting blood work is a hit or miss with pain.