Choosing Wisely:

Don’t order an electromyogram for low back pain unless there is leg pain or sciatica.

Rationale and Comments: Utilization of electromyogram studies for diagnosis of low back pain without leg pain is not supported. Electromyogram studies have good specificity for the detection of lumbosacral radiculopathy in sciatica patients when appropriate electrodiagnostic criteria are used.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Sources:
  • Expert consensus
  • Disciplines:
  • Orthopedic
  • Neurologic
  • References: • Tong HC. Specificity of needle electromyography for lumbar radiculopathy in 55- to 79-yr-old subjects with low back pain and sciatica without stenosis. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Mar;90(3):233–8.

    Email Alerts

    Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

    Sign Up Now