Redefine Healthcare offers nerve conduction studies to help diagnose a variety of conditions and help determine the best course of treatment.
What is a nerve conduction study?
A nerve conduction study, or NCS, is a procedure that measures the speed with which electrical impulses move through specific nerves. During this test, your physician will attach electrodes to your skin to stimulate the nerves. Two electrodes will be placed over the nerve on your skin, one of which will stimulate the nerve with a mild electrical pulse, while the other records the result. This process may be repeated for multiple nerves to find the source of the problem. Electromyography is a related test that measures electrical activity in the muscles; both tests may be performed at the same time.
Who needs a nerve conduction study?
NCS is used for a variety of conditions including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Patient’s with carpal tunnel syndrome often experience pain and numbness in the fingers or hand as the median nerve becomes compressed at the wrist by enlarged ligaments or tendons.
- Guillain-Barre syndrome. In this syndrome, the immune system attacks the body’s peripheral nervous system resulting in tingling or weakness in the legs.
- Herniated disc. Sometimes, the fibrous cartilage around the spinal discs breaks down, forcing the center of the disc outwards. This herniation places pressure on the nearby nerves, leading to pain and damage to the nerve itself.
- Sciatic nerve issues. Sciatic nerve problems have many causes. Most commonly, sciatic nerve conditions are caused by herniated or ruptured spinal discs that are pressing against the nerves, causing pain, numbness, or tingling.
These are a few examples of conditions and symptoms that may warrant NCS; speak with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness to determine whether NCS may be right for you.
How do I prepare for an NCS?
If your healthcare provider recommends an NCS, they will give you instructions to prepare for the procedure. You should follow your physician’s instructions carefully. However, in general, you can expect the following guidelines for preparation:
- Sign a consent form that explains the procedure and provides your permission.
- No special diet restrictions; sedation is not usually necessary.
- Dress warmly; low body temperature will slow the nerve conduction.
- Inform your care team of all medications and supplements you take, both prescription and over-the-counter.
- Dress in comfortable clothes that provide easy access to the treatment area.
- Avoid using any oils or lotions on the skin before the procedure.
What happens after an NCS?
After the procedure, you or your provider will remove the electrodes from your skin. You may return immediately to your normal activities; no downtime is necessary unless your provider instructs differently. In some cases, avoiding strenuous activity for the remainder of the day is recommended. If you have any questions, contact Redefine Healthcare and schedule a consultation to determine if NCS is right for you.