Status
Not open for further replies.

ecutchins

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
33
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
11/2013
Country
US
State
Minnesota (MN)
City
Fridley
I'm not sure when my symptoms started but on June 13th, 2013 I had sudden onset of numbness from my right shoulder down the right side of my body and into my right arm. I had a previous stroke and assumed that I'd had another but this was different. I went round and round with seeing my doctors and then my primary care doctor informed me she was moving out of state. I found a new primary care doctor and scheduled an appointment and she immediately referred me to a neurologist for an EMG. I went to the neurologist and he noticed that the muscle between the thumb and forefinger on my left hand had almost completely wasted away. I had been having some trouble gripping and lifting things but it was predominantly with my right hand. The neurologist deferred on doing the EMG and sent me for an MRI on my cervical spine without contrast and my brain with and without contrast. So I went for the MRI's and figured they would find something since I'd previously been told I had degenerative disk disease. At this point I thought some kind of disk compression was causing the problem in my right arm.

Well the neurologist got the results from the MRI and his nurse called and wanted me to come in as soon as possible. I was now sure that the MRI had revealed something and possibly surgery on my neck would fix my problem. Well to make a long story short the MRI's showed that everything was fine and no problems were found. So I'm going in tomorrow afternoon for an EMG on both arms.

Now to my question what can I expect from the EMG and how quick should I expect results,

Thanks in advance.

Ed
 

vickim

Very helpful member
Joined
Sep 20, 2012
Messages
2,255
Reason
Friend was DX
Diagnosis
03/2012
Country
US
State
MO
City
aaaa
It depends on who does the emg. If it is done by a tech, the dr has to read it and then tell you. If the dr does it then you might get the results then.

I have had 3 emgs all done by drs. but they wanted to read it and study it. I got the results at my next appointment, about 2 weeks to a month. I have to have one in oct. Its on the same day as my dr appointment so I don't know when I'll get the results. I hope that day.
 

ottawa girl

Moderator emeritus
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
1,506
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
04/2012
Country
CA
State
Ontario
City
Ottawa
Please keep in mind, an EMG tests for a whole bunch of different conditions. Not just ALS. I received the results immediately from the neurologist who did the test

Bring someone with you to the appointment. I note your name is Ed and this tidbit may not apply to you - in case you weren't advised, do not wear any body lotion anywhere! I was told lotion can make the test smart a bit more.

Let us know how it goes.
 

ecutchins

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
33
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
11/2013
Country
US
State
Minnesota (MN)
City
Fridley
My neurologist is doing the test and is doing both arms. My girlfriend is going to meet me at the doctors office. She has been great and is sticking with me through this. She just found out that a coworker whose mom and aunt both had ALS. If that is the diagnosis she has offered to go over their experience with us.

Thanks for the replies.
 

ecutchins

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
33
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
11/2013
Country
US
State
Minnesota (MN)
City
Fridley
Don't really know what to say. I went in for my EMG yesterday and it was supposed to be on both arms. The doctor did my right arm and I could tell that he seemed flustered and frustrated when we did my upper right arm and got no sound from the needle probe. He stopped the exam and said I'd have to come back for the other arm and possibly my legs now.

While I was getting dressed he spoke to my girlfriend and started telling her about carpal tunnel. She called bs and asked how carpal tunnel could cause muscle atrophy. He backed off the carpal tunnel talk which was about the time that I joined them. I asked if he could make a diagnosis and he said no. I then asked if he could eliminate ALS and he said no. He then asked why I thought it could be ALS.

I told him based on my symptoms and the results of the MRI's and CT scans that it was a possibility. He seemed to agree but when pressed he said it could be lots of things which I understand. So now he is gone for a week and I've got to schedule another EMG.

I just want to know what I have and if there is any treatment. I can barely dress myself and personal care is an issue. If I've got something treatable I want to start treatment.
 

ottawa girl

Moderator emeritus
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
1,506
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
04/2012
Country
CA
State
Ontario
City
Ottawa
Oh that's brutal! The waiting, the testing, the stress of it all. I suppose if there was something wrong with his machine, he may have told you but who knows? neurologists are a breed onto themselves.

Please, try to relax ( ya right!) ALS may not be off the menu, but there's an array of other conditions to be considered and eliminated. I'm sorry it wasn't more clear cut for you.

Be good to yourself and breathe deep.
 

frankb

Senior member
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
578
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
10/2010
Country
US
State
Georgia
City
Sandy Springs
Like Bill Cosby said, "not all doctors made a straight "A" in med school. Fortunately, my neurologist referred me to an outfit that did only EMGs (and other assaults with needles and electrical probes all, a real fun process) where a tech did some electrical work on my arms and an MD came in later for probes in my legs, thighs, and groin area. His extended exploration was necessary because he didn't like what was found in my skinny legs. He was very jovial at the start of the process and said that he would provide an analysis upon completion of the diagnosis. However, at the conclusion of the exam he told me that he would refer the results to my neurologist. The truly great part of this entire process is that I received a very early diagnosis followed by a confirming second opinion. So, that is one person's story where the medicos did a top notch job. I feel truly blessed that early diagnosis helped me, my family, and my friends adjust to what to expect in the future. I wish you the very best, and hopefully a non-ALS diagnosis.
 

clichti

Active member
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
61
Reason
Lost a loved one
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
CA
State
ON
City
Toronto
Hi there,

Ugh, your appointment sounds very frustrating! Hope the next one actually answers some questions for you.

I'm certainly no carpal tunnel expert, but my aunt had surgery for it a couple of years ago, and she definitely had atrophy around the thenar area of her hand. Apparently this can happen when the issue is chronic. So, your neurologist might not be completely off base.

Best of luck :)
 

pearshoot

Senior member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
633
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
02/2010
Country
US
State
mo
City
nixa
My first emg indicated carpal and cubical tunnel so gp sent me to hand surgeon, she did some tests and said something else is going on here, sent me back to neuro. be careful here. I have seen pals where this was done to no avail. see a neuro with lots of experience for als
 

Barbie

Extremely helpful member
Joined
Dec 29, 2007
Messages
2,659
Reason
Lost a loved one
Diagnosis
01/2007
Country
US
State
FL
City
orlando
He may have said not off the table because everything is still on the table--not just ALS. That being said--Neuros are not famous for their bedside manner...they don't have a lot of sense in that department.

have you considered a second opinion with a ALS specialist?
 

slimva

Active member
Joined
Jul 8, 2013
Messages
34
Reason
Learn about ALS
Country
US
State
VA
City
NOVA
Pearshoot, what were your initial symptoms? I was diagnosed with ulnar never compression in both arms after an NCV was performed, no issues were found during the emg. My neurologist still wants to to see me every 6 weeks and she said after my next visit in October she might refer me to a hand specialist, which i find odd. I think the reason she still wants to see me is there is no explanation for the initial tingling in the toes or sore legs that I now have. Also, she has mentioned the brisk reflexes in my knees.

So did weakness in your hand(s) lead you to an early diagnosis of carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome
 

hjlindley

Senior member
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
760
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
10/2011
Country
US
State
VA
City
Richmond
It is important to note that other things can be happening at the same time. I started with weakness in my right hand, and when they went to move my ulnar nerve, he found it was severely damaged. The hand got better for a while, then it got worse. I had a cervical fusion due to nerve damage from swimming years of butterfly, and the hand got better and then it got worse. Did I still need those 2 surgeries? Yes, I believe I did. But the ALS was lurking under them the whole time. It's one of the things that makes the diagnosis so hard to do. A year after cervical fusion, We had our 1st dirty EMG and definitive diagnosis.
Good luck.
Hollister
 

ecutchins

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
33
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
11/2013
Country
US
State
Minnesota (MN)
City
Fridley
Well I've gotten the second EMG scheduled for next Tuesday. They will be doing the left arm and the lower extremities then. I'm hoping that the neurologist will tell me something after he completes the tests. I'd like to get this narrowed down to a list of possibilities.

I noticed in the last couple of days that the symptoms in my right arm are spreading into my left arm. I can still raise my left arm but it is slowly becoming more difficult. I've also noticed that from time to time I feel like my balance is off a little and I've had an increase in the amount of stuttering.

Hopeful for Tuesday and the possibility of some answers.
 

Clearwater AL

Very helpful member
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
2,100
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
12/2016
Country
US
State
NC
City
Get Real
I don't understand. The EMG Doc did just one arm and quit? I usually get the full "Gitmo Treatment"... both legs, both arms and down the back of the neck. Did you ask why he wasn't doing the other arm? Don't mean to butt in but I've never heard of a one arm EMG but I'm a new comer to all this so don't take it wrong.
 

ecutchins

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
33
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
11/2013
Country
US
State
Minnesota (MN)
City
Fridley
I didn't really understand either. The exam seemed to be going well and after the doctor finished my right arm he said I'd have to come back for the left arm and legs. It was a late in the day appointment and they were over an hour late starting the exam. I'm not overly fond of the doctor but he's the only neurologist within my group. His bedside manner is totally lacking but I've heard that he's very good at diagnostics. I'm going to give him one more chance at Tuesday's appointment.

The waiting is a total pain and I just want to know something.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top