Diagnostic Tests Used by Physiotherapists for Injury Detection

carpal tunnel syndrome

carpal tunnel syndrome

SydneyPhysiotherapist.com.au provides an overview of these tests:

Electromyogram

Physiotherapists utilise an electromyogram (EMG) to determine the electrical current of your muscles in response to pain stimulation. They use a pin  to mildly puncture a muscle, wherein a transducer will measure the release of electrical impulses the brain sends to cause muscle twitching. If you have systemic or localised neuromuscular disorders, the EMG will show fluctuations and irregular readings. Some physio centres often administer this test to make sure the nerves were not compromised during generalised injuries. Once the physiotherapists identify the affected nerve, it becomes easier for them to find the right treatment approach for the patient.

Nerve Conduction Velocity Testing

Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) testing is a procedure commonly done alongside EMG. This test measures the speed by which impulses are transmitted from a nerve to a stimulated muscle. It also distinguishes whether the impairment is localised in the actual nerve or surrounding structures. Some therapists use NCV to detect carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a common nerve disorder that causes weakness and numbness of the hand.

Ultrasonography

Ultrasound is a helpful non-invasive test for assessing underlying structural deformities in the muscles. It is beneficial for people who need a quick assessment due to pain, discomfort, or numbness in the muscles and joints. This imaging modality also allows physiotherapists to have an extensive view of a stationary or moving body part to accurately determine the source of discomfort.

Previous muscle or nerve injury may cause extreme pain and discomfort. It is important to use diagnostic tests and imaging modalities prior to treatment. This ensures therapists provide the most appropriate management procedure.