Saturday, 11 August 2018

How Misleading Can EMGs Be For Neuropathy Patients Caught Up In A Legal Dispute?

Today's short post from (see link below) discusses the importance of EMGs (electromyography tests) for identifying neuropathy - from the viewpoint of professional injury lawyers. Now most people who get to a neurologist will undergo an EMG at some stage, as part of a series of obligatory tests to diagnose your condition as being nerve damage but there are many problems with an over-dependence on this sort of test and because they are often used as the basis of legal conclusions as to someone's ability to work, or extent of their physical damage after an accident, the test results can often be misleading. EMGs have value but only as part of a thorough examination to determine the extent of nerve damage but because they often lead to 'false negatives' they shouldn't be relied on as much as they are. As you all know, neuropathy displays many symptoms that are rarely universal. Placing too much emphasis on one test (such as an EMG) is both unfair to the patient and can have serious repercussions when it comes to proving how much discomfort you're suffering. Most modern doctors and neurologists will make a much more holistic assessment based on a series of physical tests, observations and the patient's own stories. The problem is that patient's own accounts are rarely trusted in a court of law, so decisions are made based on the very flimsy evidence provided by outdated tests such as the EMG. This short article highlights the current situation but also points out its flaws. Hopefully, you won't find yourself caught up in a legal dispute of this sort but if you do, you need to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. A competent neurologist knows whether your symptoms are neuropathic or not and knows too that supporting evidence must be based on much more than a simple EMG.

Importance of EMGs 
By Andrews, Bernstein, Maranto & Nicotra, PLLC Posted
In Buffalo Personal Injury Blog, Robert Maranto

An EMG study is often used by doctors to determine whether there is peripheral nerve damage, particularly on an individual’s spine. You can have neuropathy in your fingers, and hands, or feet that starts or originates in the spine.

When a disc is damaged, bulged, protrusion, extrusion, or herniation it extends out to the neuroforamen which causes foraminal stenosis. The disc then pushes out to an area where the nerve is exiting from the spinal cord. When the disc touches the nerve it causes symptom to the extremities.

The most common type of that injury is called sciatica, sciatic pain is a very specific problem. Sciatica is when the L5S1 nerve root is affected, people generally get symptoms at the back of their legs. They can test to see if there is a problem, each individual nerve that exits the spinal cord controls a different part of the body. Because our body works on electrical impulses, the testing of those electrical impulses can show if there’s damage.

Doctors use the EMG electromyography to insert small needles and then test the latencies of the way the electricity is firing inside the body. By doing that they can make sure the nerve is being affected. If the nerve is being affected, they will see changes in the test panels. The EMG is a very important tool that doctors use to diagnose these issues. The one thing you need to know about EMGs is that they’re not a fail safe. The problem with the EMG study is that they do provide a number of false negatives. If a person having sciatic pain in a very particular moment and EMG is taken. Then the EMG will show positive. If the symptom stop and the same person is provided with EMG, then the EMG may show negative. The EMG only tests pyramidal nerves, which are the ones that are coming out of the spinal cord. The same symptoms can arise when a person has a disc injury that is actually pushing up against the cord. So if the hands and legs are numb, then the EMG will actually be negative even though they are having the symptoms. This is because it doesn’t test for cord compression, just for pyramidal or exiting nerve compression.

This blog was provided by Robert Maranto, an experienced Buffalo NY Auto injury lawyer.

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