Question:  I am going to see a neurologist (I don’t remember the exact title). I am wondering, should I give myself a flare-up for best results of any test? (Boy, does that sound daft – but still……)

Answer 1:  My instinctive reaction is that it’s a bad idea to deliberately make things worse, but I do understand why you ask. Is it an EMG you’re going to have? I have an idea that a flare-up shouldn’t make that much difference to the results, but I’m not sure. Perhaps someone who knows more about the test than I do can give a more informed opinion.

Answer 2:  What a co-incidence. I’m off for an EMG/Nerve Conduction test today and I’ve been encouraging a flare up, daft though it seems. It is my theory that if you’re going to see a doctor regarding pain in your body, it’s best to have pain in your body when you go. Otherwise they think you’re making it up, or mad, or attention seeking, or something. I had some trouble with my knees some years ago. I booked an appointment with a consultant and then rested my knees, avoiding walking, running, stairs, exercise etc. By the time I went to see the consultant they didn’t hurt much and his conclusion was… Well, they don’t hurt much do they? Using all his years of experience he managed to ignore what I was saying. I was very impressed, and remain impressed with the medical profession to this day. Consequently I’ve been using my hands lately and, yes, it hurts.
As for the EMG test, well I’m very impressed at the amount of information I have been given about the test I am about to have. They told me what time to turn up & where to go. What more could I possibly need to know? I have to trust these people, hoping that they know more about it than my pet cat, but never really being sure.

Answer 3:  Slightly off topic, I had the standard nerve conductivity test a while back (after a six month wait), which showed nothing. Having read of other peoples experience on this list I wasn’t expecting it to show anything anyway. But just for the record, is this test a *complete* waste of time or has anyone ever had any useful results from it?

Answer 4:  I also don’t think a flare will affect EMG results. My son recently had  needle EMG, wasn’t flaring, and they STILL founds all sorts of stuff. I  had a surface EMG some years ago, and ditto for that – no flare, lots of  evidence of problems. From what I understand, flaring prior to a Functional Capacity Evaluation  is a very good idea. You really don’t want them to test you when you are  at your very best, you want them to see just how bad it can get. My GP  thinks FCE are pretty dicey because of exactly this. They can get you on  an excellent day, (the one day a year you have an excellent day, always turns out to be the day of the appointment, doesn’t it?) and thereafter you are assumed to be just fine, nothing wrong.
When I get to have an FCE, I plan to iron, garden, cook, drive a long distance, do it all. After all, in a job, you are going to have stress, physical overload, home concerns, etc., etc. In fairness to yourself, you must test yourself to the limit. And that is what an FCE does, they will push and push you to attempt stuff, and I understand it is very key to let them know when you can’t do the stuff. I think you have to make sure you are not too fighting fit for it, but more your usual self.

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