Electrodiagnostic testing helps physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) specialists diagnose neuromuscular disorders. 

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At Penn State Health Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), our physiatrists (physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation) are experts in using electrodiagnostic testing to diagnose neuromuscular disorders.

A neuromuscular disorder is one that affects the nerves that control your voluntary muscles. Voluntary muscles are the muscles that you can control, such as the muscles in your arms and legs. Neuromuscular conditions can occur as a result of an injury or a genetic disorder (a condition that you inherit from your family).

Electrodiagnostic testing uses electric impulses to measure the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves.

Tests we offer

Electrodiagnostic tests we offer include:

  • Nerve conduction velocity: Measures how fast electrical signals move through a nerve
  • Needle electromyography (EMG): Evaluates how well the muscles and the nerves that control them work
  • Electroencephalography (EEG): Measures electrical activity in the brain
  • Ambulatory EEG: Uses a device to record electrical activity in the brain for up to three days
  • Evoked potential studies: Measures electrical activity in the brain in response to stimulation of specific sensory nerve pathways

Conditions diagnosed

Our experienced specialists diagnose a wide range of neuromuscular disorders and injuries, including:

  • Neurological disorders such as:
    • ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease)
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Spina bifida
  • Peripheral neuropathy: Nerve damage in the legs, feet, hands or arms
  • Radiculopathy: Pinched nerve in the neck or back
  • Spasticity: Stiff or rigid muscles and sudden, uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury 

Neuromuscular treatments

Many neuromuscular disorders have no cure, but proper treatment can lead to a longer and better quality of life. We aim to improve your symptoms and help you move better. Our PM&R physiatrists may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Bracing and splinting to support limbs
  • Medications to relieve pain, inflammation, muscle spasms and spasticity
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapy to improve mobility and specific muscle function

Referring Physicians

To transfer a patient, please call the 24-hour MD Network: