Factors Contributing to the Reduction of Pain during Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies


Psychiatria Danubina




BACKGROUND: Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) are an unpleasant and sometimes painful examinations. Pain can reduce patient's compliance and have a negative effect on the examination results. Different studies report that music affects pain perception by acting as a distractor, by inducing positive emotional valence or through the concept of convergence of different sensory modalities. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of music and different environmental and sociodemographic factors on pain perception during EMG and NCS. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Sixty patients with suspected neuromuscular disease were randomized into music and control group. Specific questionnaire assessed sociodemographic characteristics, medical history, examination waiting time, examination extent and biometeorological forecast. The numerical rating scale was used for the evaluation of pain. The examiner evaluated patient's compliance after the examination. RESULTS: NCS was less painful for patients in the music group (p=0.03), as well as for more cooperative patients (p=0.011). For patients who previously underwent EMG/NCS, present NCS was more painful (p=0.001), regardless of the music intervention (p=0.019). EMG was more painful for older patients (p=0.041). Patients with lower level of education reported lower pain during NCS (p=0.026). Gender, financial satisfaction, biometeorological forecast, diabetes, depression or malignant disease, use and dosing of analgesics or antidepressants, symptoms, examination waiting time and the examination extent had no effect on pain perception. CONCLUSIONS: Music significantly decreased the perception of pain associated with NCS, but not the EMG portion of the examination. During EMG pain level was not significantly reduced, but the median of pain was still lower. Generally, the pain level during NCS, unlike the one during EMG, was affected by patients' compliance, level of education and painful predetermination. We propose using music during EMG/NCS because it can make the examination more comfortable for the patient and thus contribute to better quality of this examination.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Analgesic Intake; Anti-Depressant Medication Intake; Depression; Gender Disparities; Invasive Medical Procedures; Medication Use; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Patient Experience; Procedural Pain; Questionnaires; Recorded Music Listening; Self-Report Measures; Willingness to Undergo Procedure

Indexed Terms

Electromyography; Neural Conduction; Pain; Pain Perception

Study Type

Quantitative Methods; Randomized Controlled Trial

PubMed ID


Document Type