Confused and Questioning

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by RB, May 19, 2013.

  1. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I know the title is non-descriptive but I couldn't think of anything better.

    This past Wednesday I had a medical test done that has really left me disturbed. I don't know if what I experienced was normal or off the charts not normal. The test was a needle EMG/NCS. A Neurologist did the test and while I was able to complete the test and left the office on my own power I was shaken. Everything I have read suggest this test is well tolerated but I was near screaming at times. The test went on for over an hour between the nerve shocking and needle insertions from my lower back down to my feet. Even when I was dressed and about to leave the doctor came back in and had another go on my right foot shocking me another 30 or so times. The next day my legs felt as if I had been beaten by a baseball bat.

    I think I'm pretty tough mentally and can handle pain pretty well but I now question that concept. So I have to wonder was this experience typical? I've tried to read up on this but really haven't found any trusted source to refer to. I intend to ask the doctor who ordered the test if he has ever had the pleasure and suggest he take advantage of all that fun before sending anyone else to that torture chamber.

    Thanks for listening.
  2. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    KrazyKat likes this.
  3. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Oh, RB, I feel so bad for you and wish I could help you, but I can't.

    I do agree with your thought that the doctor should undergo the test before performing it. The stats on docs who won't have a colonoscopy are mind-boggling - but they don't hesitate to order them for their patients.

    Several years ago, I had major surgery for diverticulitis and peritonitis, and had both ovaries removed due to a cyst on one of them. The doc who did the colon resection told me that in 3 months I'd be totally healed. When, after 3 months, I was still having pain (and I'm no sissy either), I asked my gynecologist why I wasn't healed when I'd been told it would be three months. She snorted and said "more like 3 years" and she was right!
  4. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    OMG, RB, I'm so sorry this happened to you! I scanned Monica47's linked blogpost: 15-20% of patients are paralyzed by this procedure??! WTF!
    Whether these Internet facts are true or not--the outrageous pain is fact enough--unacceptable!!
    I don't know what we can do, but possibly bring attention to this.
    I hope you and your legs are recovering.
  5. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I am sorry to hear that:

    1. You are in a position that requires this testing in the first place.
    2. The testing was very painful for you.

    I did a little research and found that most reports indicate mild discomfort for almost all patients, and extreme pain in some - at the "established" sites.

    This Dr. performs some elements of the test on himself, and it doesn't even seem to phase him, he also indicates that he has performed the full procedure on himself, so that ties right back into Doobers comment.

    The word on the posting boards is different, as almost all of the people posting at some of the larger sites indicate that they felt the pain was significant. So do not feel alone if the pain level was high for you. One common theme I have found seems to be that people have different levels of resistance to pain, meaning that what is painful to you, may not be as painful to someone else that is similar to you in age, build and base genetics. Another theme I found is that the pain can be stronger on neck/head and extremities, but this is not a scientific result at all. Check out some of these links, maybe they can give you some more information.
  6. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I appreciate the link and ya'lls thoughts. The backstory to this is a surgeon sent me to a pain management doc for a discogram. Trying to figure out exactly where the problem lies. Pain guy wouldn't do the discogram and sent me on to the neurologist for the EMG. Feeling like a ping pong ball although some of the bounce is gone.
  7. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach


    So sorry to hear this.

    I have a number of patients who find their way to me after getting bounced around like that. Every single one of them says that the pain from this test is excruciating, and that if they had known the truth about this test they would have just dealt with what they had rather than go through it.

    That said, it would be inappropriate for me to diagnose you over the internet, but if you'd like to get a second opinion from a doctor who treats a number of patients who have unsuccessfully been through these tests and the procedures the doctors that perform them then put you through, send me a PM. I'd be happy to get a better understanding of what brought you to this point and get you in a better direction. There are far cheaper and less painful tests that can be performed before going down this road.

    And you're right, you are being bounced around like a ping pong ball. Most doctors understand very poorly your type of predicament, and throw a bunch of quackery at it hoping you'll go away from frustration, not necessarily that the problem will. They simply don't know how to treat it effectively.

    I'm just a keyboard away...
    Rugape likes this.
  8. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    RB - having hurt my back in the past I know what studies they did. I had a had a nerve conduction study about 6 months after I hurt my back (Workmans Comp sucks BTW) and it was used to tell what condition and how well nerves could conduct impulses. Mine was not comfortable in some respects but in others I didn't feel anything(I asked had he started yet at one point) as I have nerve damage from my injury. The pins/needles they use can feel like knives at time and the amount of current they use feels like your being zapped at times including one time they caused a involuntary muscle spasm where I kicked the Doc in the ribs.

    Did they not warn you or to tell them if it got painful?
  9. Wow, RB. I'm so sorry to hear you had to deal with this awful test. In my opinion, it's malpractice if you're not informed of what is clearly a possible reaction to a test like this. We're a household with much neck and back pain and dysfunction, so one of us could have easily stumbled into an EMG at one time or another.

    Have you considered acupuncture for pain management? That's one thing that has helped both of us immensely. It doesn't necessarily address the root problem, but it helps get us through the day with much less pain.
    barbell likes this.
  10. RB

    RB Founding Member

    It was just me and the doc in the room. I told him that it was getting pretty uncomfortable and he sympathized but kept on going. Some of the needle insertions felt like fire. Don't know if they had an electrical current or not but wiggling the needle around after having it stuck in the muscle just wasn't fun. The NCS part had low level shocks but some were very strong and hurt like (expletive deleted). He zapped several times in rapid succession over and over all up and down the leg testing each point. Behind the knee was the worst.
  11. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    okay the stabbing/wiggling of the needle is a bit much IMHO. I would have a word with the practice/doc about that indifference to a patients comment/feeling during a procedure is not something that should be shrugged off like that.

    Behind the knee is when I kicked the doc in the ribs as that flat out hurt and felt like i had pulled my calf for a week afterwards. Doc looked surprised when it happened as the reflex was strong enough to knock him off his chair.
  12. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Moving the needle during the EMG is part of the procedure. I shouldn't be seeing this neurologist again so will just move on.
  13. Was the doc's name Mengele?
  14. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    LOL but in the Dallas / Ft Worth Area I would steer clear of Greg Powell for back/orthopedists:td: :td:

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