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Old 05-20-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
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Abnormal EMG?

On March 19th, I went to my neurosurgeon to have an EMG. Two weeks later, I go for my follow-up appointment and the doctor tells me that there were some abnormalities on the EMG. What could this mean for me?

I have back pain as a result of a on-the-job injury 4 years ago, which improved with bed rest and Darvocet. I was doing well with the pain up until almost a year ago when I started experiencing sharp, increasing pains. I have also seen an orthopedic surgeon regarding this problem, I had an MRI done last Halloween which came back fine. The orthopedic surgeon told me that I have chronic SI joint pain.

Anyway, the pain has since gotten much worse over the months and that's when I was referred to a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon told me that he does not see a need for surgery and then ordered me to undergo EMG testing. After my follow-up, I was referred to a neurologist. I go to see the neuro doctor on June 5th.

My symptoms have included anything from loss of continence, dizziness, painful facial twitching, and heat intolerance. I just want to know what any of these symptoms that I'm experiencing could possibly mean.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:15 PM   #2
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Re: Abnormal EMG?

A neurosurgeon "fixes" problems through surgery. If you have MS, no surgery can repair you. Because this is a neurosurgeon, it would be rather difficult to know what his definition of abnormal EMG or what he thought the cause of the abnormality is.

If this is unrelated to something that can be repaired through surgery (ask to see what is wrong and if surgery is an accurate solution), then please ask to be referred to an MS Specialist. Neurology covers a vast array of fields and specialties. A neurosurgeon will usually lose interest in your case if there is no surgery possible. An MS Specialist has to run you through a gauntlet of tests to sort things out.

Because there are over 400 diseases which can present with MS like symptoms, it is still too early to worry. If there is a way for surgery to help you, I the neurosurgeon would be well qualified.

The answers are coming, but they will not arrive in quick fashion. You will need to employ an abundance of patience.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:25 AM   #3
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Re: Abnormal EMG?

The fact that the neurosurgeon does NOT see a reason for Surgey is actually both a good thing and surprising. I have yet to meet a neurosurgeon who doesnt believe that surgery can fix anything! Good for you if you found an honest one!

An EMG can be abnormal for any number of reasons. You can have an abnormal EMG and have carpal tunnel syndrome. You can have an abnormal EMG and have a pinched nerve. Youre going to have to either go back to him or call him and ask for clarification on what was abnormal about it. Dont allow a doctor to ever let you leave his office without understanding exactly what he means when he says something. Im sure you were totally overwhelemed when you were there, but now that you have questions, get the answers from the source. Ask to have him call you. NOt his nurse, not his receptionist- but the doctor himself.

A nerve conduction test can mean a zillion things - most of which isnt serious. IF it WERE serious, than the neurosurgeon probably would have thought he could help you...so I wouldnt stress yourself out over this. A nerve conduction test will NOT confirm that you have MS, so if thats what you are worried about, dont be.

You do need to see a neurologist again, specifically a MS specialist if you are that concerned about MS. If nothing else, they can point you in the right direction. Last Halloween was 8 months ago, its time for another MRI...they should be repeated every 6 months during the dianostic phase, because what wasnt there then, might show up now.

Wishing you answers and better days ahead.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:04 PM   #4
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Re: Abnormal EMG?

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The fact that the neurosurgeon does NOT see a reason for Surgey is actually both a good thing and surprising. I have yet to meet a neurosurgeon who doesnt believe that surgery can fix anything! Good for you if you found an honest one!

An EMG can be abnormal for any number of reasons. You can have an abnormal EMG and have carpal tunnel syndrome. You can have an abnormal EMG and have a pinched nerve. Youre going to have to either go back to him or call him and ask for clarification on what was abnormal about it. Dont allow a doctor to ever let you leave his office without understanding exactly what he means when he says something. Im sure you were totally overwhelemed when you were there, but now that you have questions, get the answers from the source. Ask to have him call you. NOt his nurse, not his receptionist- but the doctor himself.

A nerve conduction test can mean a zillion things - most of which isnt serious. IF it WERE serious, than the neurosurgeon probably would have thought he could help you...so I wouldnt stress yourself out over this. A nerve conduction test will NOT confirm that you have MS, so if thats what you are worried about, dont be.

You do need to see a neurologist again, specifically a MS specialist if you are that concerned about MS. If nothing else, they can point you in the right direction. Last Halloween was 8 months ago, its time for another MRI...they should be repeated every 6 months during the dianostic phase, because what wasnt there then, might show up now.

Wishing you answers and better days ahead.
Nikki

The neurosurgeon said during the follow-up visit that the reason(s) for my abnormal EMG could be anything from diabetic neuropathy, lead poisoning to chemotherapy from breast cancer. I know that I'm not diabetic, have never been poisoned by lead, or have never had any type of cancer that has resulted in chemotherapy treatments.

I agree that it's time for another MRI. I think that when I go to my neurology appointment on June 5th, the doctor will order a MRI and possibly a lumbar puncture. However, I still do have concerns about MS, but I know better than to worry too soon.

All I want is just to find out what this may be, MS or not. I know that I already have carpal tunnel in both of my wrists which I found out two years ago. I am especially weak on the left side, in the arm throughout the entire left side. I am no longer able to work as an electronics technician because of that.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:56 PM   #5
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Re: Abnormal EMG?

Do let us know how things go on June 5.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:11 PM   #6
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Re: Abnormal EMG?

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Do let us know how things go on June 5.

Thanks. I will definitely keep you guys posted.

Just one question. What can I expect during the first neurology appointment? What kind of testing (if any) will take place?
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:22 PM   #7
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Re: Abnormal EMG?

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Do let us know how things go on June 5.
On Tuesday, I called my neurosurgeon's office (and spoke to the nurse) about what is going on. She said that something about neuropathy and something about deymyelinating and inflammation. She said that she didn't know for sure what the official diagnosis is until I go to the neurologist on June 5th.

I have a question though... Is neuropathy and demyelinating, and inflammation the same this as Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy?

If so, I keep having a deep, burning pain that goes through both legs, feet, toes, hands, and back. I constantly feel like my body is on fire and I constantly feel very fatigued.

I have tried to get in touch with my PCP all this week to find out if he can call me something in for the pain. Not necessarily a narcotic, but anything that will help make me comfortable because I'm losing sleep over this and I can barely walk or climb stairs.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:33 PM   #8
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Re: Abnormal EMG?

Quote:
Originally Posted by piglet86 View Post
On Tuesday, I called my neurosurgeon's office (and spoke to the nurse) about what is going on. She said that something about neuropathy and something about deymyelinating and inflammation. She said that she didn't know for sure what the official diagnosis is until I go to the neurologist on June 5th.

I have a question though... Is neuropathy and demyelinating, and inflammation the same this as Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy?

If so, I keep having a deep, burning pain that goes through both legs, feet, toes, hands, and back. I constantly feel like my body is on fire and I constantly feel very fatigued.

I have tried to get in touch with my PCP all this week to find out if he can call me something in for the pain. Not necessarily a narcotic, but anything that will help make me comfortable because I'm losing sleep over this and I can barely walk or climb stairs.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
From what I have read it can involve the same thing. Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy is a separate disorder. Neuropathy and demyelinating and inflammation can fit into the MS problems too. I guess much of this depends upon the particular doctor you are seeing.

June 5 is close. I would not try to dwell too much upon this. Try to enjoy a rest the best you can. Nerve pain is terrible, I know. It is a pain that often does not respond to meds. My worst pain has been in my left leg. After I counter the pain with my heating pad, I have found that I have "won the battle" though the continual attacks have damaged my left leg.

Stairs are no friend of MSers.....If their is any way to avoid stairs, I would. I realize that many people live in homes with stairs. If your insurance can help you, a stair lift can certainly help matters. If you need your own funds, many states offer tax credits for ADA home modifications.

I am still hoping for the best for your upcoming results. You remain in my prayers.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:50 AM   #9
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Re: Abnormal EMG?

Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy is a stand alone disease. My best friend has it and at times, it can be VERY painful. Much like Fibromyalgia, it affects different people differently, however the only symptom management is steroids, as high as 20 mgs a day (orally). Almost constantly.

Demylination can be from any one of 1000 things, although part of the disease, I would say that its a very good chance that just because you have demylination- there is a small chance that it is actually Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy-

Remember demylination can be a symptom, while Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy is a disease.

Same with Neuopathy. Neuropahy simply means damaged nerves. It is a symtom usually resulting in numbness or burning/ tingling. Common to MSers, it is also common to people who have Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy and about 1000 other diseases, so just because you have neuopathy, does NOT mean its Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy.


I hope this helps. I have severe neuopathy in my hands and fingers, permanent nerve damage which will never stop burning/ tingling. I live with it daily. I do know how painful and frustrating it can be. I hope that you find an answer to your issues soon and begin to feel better.

Nikki
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