Woman suffering from stress grimacing in pain

Electrodiagnostic Medicine: What is it and How Does It Work?

Electrodiagnostic medicine or EDX is a specific area of medical practice which is performed by specially trained physicians in neurophysiologic testing. EDX helps doctors accurately diagnose, evaluate, and create personalized treatment plans according to the patients’ conditions and needs. Electrodiagnostic medicine is known for treating neurological and neuromuscular muscular system disorders, which are diseases that involve the brain, spine, and nerves that connect them. 

How is it done?

Electrodiagnostic medicine consultation starts with obtaining a pertinent history and performing a physical examination. This way, the physician can define the clinical problem and differential diagnose properly. Ultimately, the exams will help them arrive at a probable diagnosis.

How is it used in physiotherapy?

Electrodiagnosis in physiotherapy or physical therapy is an effective method for diagnosing, evaluating, and treating patients who are experiencing pain. Conditions such as low back pain, poor motor control, and post-surgical pain respond well in electrical stimulation. 

Doctors use the approaches and methods of electrodiagnosis in physiotherapy to reduce pain. Specifically, they use different types of electrodiagnostic tests for relaxation of muscle spasms, muscle rehabilitation, improving blood circulation, increasing range of motion, prevention and retardation of disuse atrophy, and many more. In pain management, electrodiagnostic medicine is found effective for chronic and intractable pain, post-traumatic acute pain and post-surgical acute pain.

Who can perform electrodiagnostic medicine?

As mentioned, this area is a subspecialty. Not all doctors have the training, skills, and knowledge necessary to identify which tests to perform based on their patients’ symptoms. Thus, only those who have a certification and who have spent 3 to 4 years practicing electrodiagnostic medicine in the residency program are qualified. 

A qualified doctor is someone who has special knowledge about electric signal processing, waveform analysis, electronics, and instrumentation, and operation of electrodiagnosis test equipment. They must have an understanding of the anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, histology, and pathology of the brain. This explains why most physicians that offer this treatment are neurologists and physical and rehabilitation doctors.