Needle phobia and pain among electrodiagnostic subjects: Preliminary survey

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)



and aims Needle phobia, otherwise known as trypanophobia, is seen in at least 10% of the general population. We evaluated the effect of needle phobia on the perceived and actual pain during electrodiagnostic procedures in this study.


Prospective subjects referred to our electrodiagnostic laboratory between July and August 2020 were interviewed. Demographic data, perceived pain score (using a visual analogue scale) for nerve conduction test (NCT) and electromyography were assessed. Needle phobia score (using a needle phobia scale) was collated and analyzed.


Of the 38 subjects, 24 were male and 14 were females with mean age of 43.11 ± 12.2 and 41.05 ± 16.83 respectively (p = 0.662). The needle phobia score was not different between female (13.25 ± 15.43) and males (17.40 ± 11.63), p = 0.56. The mean perceived pain score for NCT was 4.73 + −2.93 while mean of actual pain score was 4.94 ± 2.33 (p = 0.028). The mean perceived pain score for EMG was 2.69 + −2.24 while mean post score was 4.25 ± 3.31, (p = 0.028). There was a direct correlation between pre and post NCT pain scores (correlation coefficient 0.457, p = 0.007) and pre- EMG and post EMG pain scores (correlation c = 0.558, p = 0.025). Trypanophobia index was positively correlated to the perceived pain but not actual pain on EMG.


Inquiry about needle phobia and treating them may ensure more cooperation and tolerability of electrodiagnostic procedure, especially electromyogram in high-risk subjects.

Publication ( Name of Journal)

Journal of the Neurological Sciences