How to Survive an MRI

Posted: November 3, 2018

MRI’s are a stellar tool in the use of diagnosing medical problems. As a person that’s been active my entire life, I have had injuries AND, MRI’s. Since the idea of even having one invokes fear, and I had one yesterday…I laid in that white tube planning my blog on How to Survive an MRI.

While laying in that loud tube, trying to not itch, move or open my eyes… I planned on writing this post.

If you have never had an MRI, you’ll be lying on a movable steel bed, that shuttles you into the machine.

Yes, the tube is very white with a seam down the middle right above eye level. You cannot move your head, but if you look straight down your body…you can see the light.

Yeah, sounds scary, but it is a tad comforting to know you’re not “sealed in”.

Actually, it is SO white, that there is almost an odd issue of depth perception. You cannot really tell if you are inches away from the top or if it is actually a couple of feet.

Of course, the larger of a human you are, the smaller that tube will seem…and will be.

This is the part where most people get a tad unnerved.

Here are my top tips on How to Survive an MRI.

  1. When they ask you over and over if you are claustrophobic, answer truthfully. I am not. However, after being asked so many times…seemed to be more apt to BE claustrophobic!

The techs are usually very nice. And you will be holding a cord with a “buzzer” on it should you freak out. Just remind yourself that you are in a room with them.

My MRI was on my cervical spine, and I not only had to lay in the giant white tube…they put a “cage” around my head that was quite unnerving, only when I decided to open my eyes.

2. Keep your eyes closed the entire time.

Of course, you’ll open them at least once…and realize this is a mistake. Just close them and go back to your “happy place”.

3. They ask you what kind of music you want to listen to. Pick something that is not too calming.

I love hard rock and blues, however, I decided to pick “spa music”. Don’t make that mistake LOL.

There is something creepy about lying in a “coffin like” tube with your hands folded on your belly, listening to what sounded like funeral music. UGH!  And…don’t lie in the “classic” open casket pose we all have seen and hate. Lie with hands on your belly, but make them “askew”.

4. Do not try to scratch an itch. You’ll have to stop the exam if you move. If you feel an itch…focus on another body part and how something felt on that spot before. You’ll forget what itched. But guys…be careful what body part you focus on!

5. The machine will sound as if it’s going to break.

With each new segment of the MRI, the tech will say something like “Ok, this segment will take 45 seconds” and suddenly the machine starts banging and whirring loudly.

The earphones I guess are meant to drown out the odd noises that are to me the worst part of the entire exam.

So if you have to get an MRI…here is what you’ll encounter.

Go in calmly. Tell them you’re a bit nervous. if you’ve never had one.

And find your happy place for the 25 minutes that you’ll be laying still.

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Dawn