Pinched Nerve? What Tests Might You Have To Find Out?

September 12, 2013

EMG & NCV – Tests Doctors Use to Determine Pinched Nerves

Pinched Nerve - Pennsylvania Personal Injury AttorneysSometimes, when a client comes to the injury attorneys of Lowenthal & Abrams when he is in pain after suffering a personal injury, he will provide us medical records that discuss “EMG testing” or an electromyography test.  An EMG looks at the health of both the muscles and the nerves in an injured person’s body. Normally, if you have had an EMG you will also have a NCV.  An NCV test is used to determine how quickly electrical signals are moving through your nerves. Together, these tests can help a doctor determine whether a patient has a variety of medical problems, including a pinched nerve or carpal tunnel syndrome.

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Pinched nerves (also called compressed nerves) occur as a result of pressure from surrounding tissue that is pinching or compressing a nerve or nerves. The pressure can come from bone or cartilage, for example with a herniated disk pressing on a nerve root, as well as muscles or tendons that are swollen or damaged in another way.  This situation can be extremely painful for the patient. Fortunately, pinched nerves often resolve themselves with rest and other treatments, but sometimes they do not and surgery is necessary.  There are number of reasons someone can develop a pinched nerve.  For purposes of a personal injury case, the most common reasons involve an injury of some kind, which can be caused by repetitive motions at work, or an accident of some kind, such as a car crash.

What are the Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?

Your doctor will suspect a pinched nerve if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the area of compression, such as the neck or low back
  • Radiating pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • “Pins and needles” or a burning sensation
  • Weakness, especially with certain activities

What is an EMG Test Like?

The video below describes what an EMG / NCV is like.  The test takes between 60 to 90 minutes, and normally causes little discomfort or pain, even though there is some needle involvement.

Are EMG Tests Important for a Personal Injury Case?

The most important reason to have an electromyography test is because your doctor feels you need one and doing so will help your treatment and recovery.  That said, this kind of test can be very helpful when it comes to supporting your case. If a doctor suspects that your injury has caused a pinched nerve, your lawyer needs to be able to prove the extent of the problem, and an EMG can help do so

Given the value of an EMG, it is extremely important that you have a personal injury attorney who is not only familiar with EMG tests and what they mean, but who is capable of understanding the language used in the reports provided by the doctor. Here at Lowenthal & Abrams, we have both a medical doctor and nurse on staff who are also attorneys. Our senior litigator has handled numerous trials involving serious injuries, and has substantial experience examining and cross examining doctors on medical reports, including EMGs. As a result, if you are suffering from a pinched nerve as a result of negligent behavior or a work injury, you can feel comfortable knowing that the litigators at our firm understand EMGs and how to use them in your lawsuit.

If you are suffering from a pinched nerve, please feel free to contact the Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys and workers’ compensation attorneys of Lowenthal & Abrams. We will discuss your case with you at no cost, and there is no fee unless you recover for your injury.



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