Using Electromyography to Diagnose Your Lower Back Pain

Using Electromyography to Diagnose Your Lower Back Pain

When you have lower back pain but aren’t sure what’s causing it, it’s important that you get the right diagnostic tests.

At New Tampa Interventional Pain & Sports Medicine, pain specialist Jose De La Torre, MD, knows that chronic lower back pain can affect many aspects of your life. For this reason, Dr. De La Torre offers on-site diagnostic testing services, including electromyography.

Why you might need electromyography

Electromyography (EMG) is a minimally invasive procedure to evaluate the electrical activity of the nerve roots in your spine. This type of test can pinpoint areas of nerve compression or nerve damage (neuropathy) that result from chronic inflammation and spinal conditions like:

Persistent pressure on these nerve roots can cause the spontaneous contraction of the nerve and slow down nerve activity.  Pressure can also cause tingling, weakness, muscle pain, and cramping in your lower back. This pain can also radiate into your limbs, shoulders, hips, and buttocks.

Because nerve compression pain can be similar to other painful conditions, an accurate diagnosis is important. This ensures you receive the right treatment to relieve your pain and protect the health of your spinal nerves.

What to expect during electromyography

Electromyography is a same-day procedure we perform in our office. At the start of your test, we place electrodes on the surface of your skin in specific points of your body, including your lower back.

These electrodes will send low currents of electricity into your muscles. When this happens, you may feel muscle spasms in the area, which can cause some discomfort.

Depending on your symptoms, we might also insert slender needle electrodes in certain pain sites. These needles can determine if you have any spontaneous electrical activity in your muscles when they’re at rest and when you contract certain muscles.

We provide guidance throughout your EMG, so you know when to contract and when to relax your muscles.

Recovering from your electromyography

After your EMG is complete, we’ll remove the electrodes from the surface of your skin. This process shouldn’t cause any discomfort. If you have a needle EMG, it’s normal to experience some temporary bruising and mild pain at the insertion site.

You can go home soon after your test is done without any limitations. Our team will interpret the results of your EMG, and Dr. De La Torre can determine if you need additional testing to confirm your diagnosis.

He can also customize a treatment plan that helps relieve your lower back pain based on the results of your EMG.

Finding long-lasting relief of chronic lower back pain

We offer a variety of treatments to ease chronic pain and improve the range of motion you have in your spine.  These treatments may include:

If these therapies aren’t enough to provide long-term relief of neuropathic pain, Dr. De La Torre may recommend in-office anesthesia treatments. Anesthetic medications delivered into your lumbar (lower) spine interfere with pain signals that travel from compressed or damaged nerves to your brain.

Don’t live your life limited by chronic lower back pain. Call New Tampa Interventional Pain & Sports Medicine today to schedule an electromyography, or book a consultation online. 

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