Electromyographer

Use special machines to run tests on a patient's nervous system.

What does an Electromyographer do?

When muscles won’t do as they’re told, nerve problems are usually to blame. Perhaps the signal is being dropped somewhere along the way, or perhaps the message is being ignored by lazy cells that would rather rest than work. An Electromyographer performs a test to spot these problems. Using needles, the Electromyographer pinpoints the source of the issue so the patient can get needed help.

When you’re an Electromyographer, an EMG Technician helps prepare the patient for your exam. When you arrive to do your work, the person is already clean, on the table, and covered with pen marks.

Before you start, you explain what you’ll do, making sure the risks and benefits of the test are clear. It can be painful for some people, and you don’t hide that fact. This keeps patients from leaping off the table during the exam.

Using very thin needles attached to an EMG machine, you poke into the lazy muscle and take a series of readings. Then, you ask the person to flex and you take more readings. Sometimes, you read measurements on a screen, and other times, you listen for sound waves passing through the cells. All of this has meaning for you, if not for the patient.

At the end of the exam, you have a clear picture of what’s causing the muscle issue. In most states, particularly if you’ve completed your medical degree, you’re allowed to make a diagnosis and tell the patient what’s wrong. In some states, however, you can’t make a formal diagnosis, so you pass your results to a Neurologist for interpretation.