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Scared of MRI scan

(76 Posts)
springtime12 Sat 06-Apr-19 21:59:32

I have a MRI scan on Monday and as I'm claustrophobic I'm scared. GP has prescribed diazepam as I have anxiety as well, but now I'm scared of taking it as I've not taken it before.

How effects does diazepam have?
Do you have any tips to get thru the MRI?

Ainu to be scared of both the scan and the meds?

TheoriginalLEM Sat 06-Apr-19 22:14:51

I assume you have been given 2mg diazepam? It is a really low dose and you are unlikely to notice feeling any different. But it does take the edge off any anxiety. Have they give you more than one?

I would also highly recommend cammomile tea. It tastes imo like sick and i have to hold my breath to drink it but it really works for me. That with bach's rescue remedy.

Ive not had a mri but my mum has had several. The thing that surprises people is that it is very loud. I am not sure if you are allowed to wear ear plugs but worth asking. Snother thing to try is mindfulness meditation. You can practice now - imagine yourself ina garden. It is a happy place, what can you see? Hear? Touch? Picture yourself walking around the garden. It is your santuaryand can be anything you want. Focus on minute details. Textures. Colours. Smells. Tend your garden in your mind.

Now i amaware that sounds like a load of old woo but i have mh issues and that one thing helps.

Remember it wont take that long in the grand scheme of things and it is totally non invasive. It wont hurt.

My mum's mris were for very specific parts of her brain and she had a mask made of her face that ensured she couldn't move - she fucking hated it. But she managed it and my mother is the worlds most difficult patient.

Its a positive thing - a step towards treatment and feeling better. A hurdle to get out of the way.

Another thing i do in situations like that is to repeat to myself, ok so by 4 o clock I'll be home/in the pub/with my dd.

Good luck - you got this

AbbieDabbieDoo Sat 06-Apr-19 22:15:51

I had an MRI scan a while ago, and I'm also quite claustrophobic. They give you a button you can press if you want to come out, and I nearly pressed it after 10 seconds! But I tilted my head back and could see out the end of it and did stuff like counting the wall tiles and trying to read the text on a poster which made me feel better and less confined.

MamaRaisingBoys Sat 06-Apr-19 22:19:41

I had one in Dec and they put music on. You can still hear the machine because it’s loud but the music was a good distraction. The person doing the scan also spoke to me through the headphones to let me know what was happening and how long each bit would take. I got through by thinking this but is just 2 songs, this but will take 3 songs etc.

Also had a button to press if I really wasn’t coping and I closed my eyes before I even went in so I wasn’t really aware of how claustrophobic it was

Girlwhowearsglasses Sat 06-Apr-19 22:22:27

DS was part of a study that involved three hours of MRI over 45 minute sessions last year.

He is not the kind of child (age 12) that would just ‘do’ this unless he felt ok. They very carefully went through a practice session with him, played the noises to him, and showed him their screens and how they would communicate with him. Once he was familiar he found it ok. They can get you out really quickly if you really need to stop.

Having seen it at close quarters I think I’d be ok if I needed one now- and I’m not very good when it comes to claustrophobia .

Good luck

OhTheRoses Sat 06-Apr-19 22:22:45

I usually work 12 hour days. It was a lovely lie down with my eyes closed listening to popular classics. Quite nice really.

Raspberry10 Sat 06-Apr-19 22:23:14

Keep your eyes closed as soon as you lay down and don’t open them. In the end I fell asleep and it sounds like being in a large printer. They might be able to give you headphones to keep the noise down.

Don’t be afraid to tell the MRI technician/nurse that you’re scared. It does different things to different people. The lovely nurse held my hand as I went in.

Hope it goes well flowers

Skittlesandbeer Sat 06-Apr-19 22:24:44

Best to close your eyes before they slide you in, and keep them closed throughout. Normally they offer you music, I sometimes ask for a music style I don’t particularly like so I can be more distracted (I know, I’m a bit weird).

SlightAggrandising Sat 06-Apr-19 22:24:52

I had one recently and very nearly pressed the button to get out. My genuine advice to you OP would be to wear an eye mask. Please consider it. When I shut my eyes and talked sense to myself it was all fine.
You got this, sister.

thesnapandfartisinfallible Sat 06-Apr-19 22:27:57

It isn't actually as claustrophobic in there as you'd think. It's open both ends, more of a tube really. What area of your body are they scanning?

I had cervical spine done so only had my head and shoulders in the machine. They'll give you headphones too so you have something to listen to so it doesn't feel like forever in there. It is noisy and sometimes does judder a bit when it moves you slightly further in or out but isn't half as scary when you actually see it.

As for the diazepam, you might feel a bit drowsy and spaced out so I wouldn't drive on them but they're really quite pleasant. Bit like morphine in some ways. They don't take away the pain/unpleasant situation but they make sure you don't give a fuck.

Lifeisabeach09 Sat 06-Apr-19 22:28:01

The Diazepam will relax you. It might make you feel very slightly woozy. It might make you drowsy. I've taken it for an MRI in the past and 2mg works for me. I almost fell asleep during the scan, which was a blessing.

I hate MRIs. I feel so claustrophobic in the machine--not something I suffer from generally so the Diazepam really helps.

You'll be given earphones with music/radio playing. It helps drown out the noise of the machine, which, as PP have said, is loud.

As PP have said, you'll be given a push button bell. Just press if you need to stop for something.

Procedure usually 30-50 minutes depending on what's being scanned.

wineandsunshine Sat 06-Apr-19 22:30:41

My advise would be to shut your eyes before you go in and to try and relax with breathing.

That said, I nearly pressed the button after ten seconds too. It was very loud in there.

Mine was head and cervical spine for 45 mins so quite long.

HollaHolla Sat 06-Apr-19 22:31:00

I’ve had quite a few MRIs. They’re not my favourite thing, but they’re not the worst.

First off, tell them you’re worried about it. Mine have been at 5 different hospitals, and the staff have been fabulous at them all - even in an emergency, middle of the night, surgical team standing by, situation. They sort out headphones and music, and talk to you through them. They’ll say that this bit will be 2 mins/3 mins/whatever.

I won’t lie, I can’t keep my eyes open. It’s VERY close to your face, so I concentrate on my breathing, and do some Pilates breaths, and play a wee game in my head.

They will give you a button to press if you really aren’t coping, and I understand they’ll pull you straight out, should you press it.

Take the diazepam. A low doze won’t make you super dopey or anything, but should just chill you out a wee bit.
Sure it will all go ok. 🤞🏻

WorkingItOutAsIGo Sat 06-Apr-19 22:33:21

Seriously. Shut your eyes. And focus on the fact you are lucky to live in an age when such diagnostic tools are available to help you be healthy.

PointlessUsername Sat 06-Apr-19 22:33:56

I am really scared of small spaces and getting trapped But it wasnt that bad ( was so scared beforehand)

I explained i was frightened before going in and was talked through it. You wear ear defenders and Like a pp said you will have a button you can press if you want to come out. I also had atilted mirror above my head i could see into the room the radiographers were in.

It was broken down into sections like next scan will take 5 mins which they will tell you through the mic/speaker so you are able to count it down which i found helpfull.

Its a bit noisy and a bit cold inside i just kept my eyes closed. When DS who was 10 at the time had his he fell asleep.


HollaHolla Sat 06-Apr-19 22:34:09

Ps. Should say that you can’t have anything metal in there, so I find wearing a stretchy sports bra/crop top is a good call, as I feel more comfortable in my own things under the horrific gown.
Oh and I generally get thorassic/lumbar/sacral spine done, so in headfirst, up to my knees or so. Usually around 30 mins.

Oct18mummy Sat 06-Apr-19 22:35:23

I’ve had a few MRI scans, my most recent one I closed my eyes before they slid me in and I actually fell asleep. Try to relax, deep breathe and try and switch off. Good luck

TheBitchOfTheVicar Sat 06-Apr-19 22:38:41

Mine lasted about 25 mins.

As others said, eyes shut really helps. My DM has had a few and is claustrophobic and said she really wanted to sit up. I thought about this a lot while lying there, but eyes shut helped so much, and the music and the regular checking in by the nurses.

LittleChristmasMouse Sat 06-Apr-19 22:40:09

What part of your body are they scanning? I get quite claustrophobic and I've had a few MRIs. Sometimes my head has been completely out of the scanner, other times I've tipped my head right back or shut my eyes before I've gone in and a couple of times although I've gone right in I've been on my front so it's not been too bad.

AtrociousCircumstance Sat 06-Apr-19 22:41:48

Diazepam is lovely, it just chills you out and takes the anxiety away - you feel normal other than that...maybe a bit sleepy depending on the dose, but the experience is totally benign.

Breathing exercises and visualisation. Just keep reminding yourself that you want to be exactly there, because you are looking after yourself. It’s self love in a way. Remind yourself that however freaky it is, you want to be there.

You can do it smile

mollpop Sat 06-Apr-19 22:42:54

You can see out of the end, you aren't totally enclosed. I had an MRI scan a couple of weeks ago and the nurse said that they have a lot of claustrophobic patients. The scanner is quite noisy. There are lots of banging noises but as long as you exoect them it's fine. Good luck. You can do this x

Gronky Sat 06-Apr-19 22:49:14

The only thing I would add to the excellent above messages is that the noise is quite heavy, it's not just a sound, it's more of a physical bang which is a perfectly normal part of the operation of the machine. It's like a slightly unbalanced load on a low spin cycle but you're at the centre of the washer. The scanner is absolutely designed to take these forces so don't be alarmed by how it sounds and feels, I recall a slight sensation through the bed I was on when I had one a few years ago.

springtime12 Sat 06-Apr-19 23:08:42

They aren't 2mg tablets, they're 5mg ones. Will this make a difference?

It's my hip so I think my head will be in the scanner. Am grateful it's not my head tbh.

I so don't want to wear a gown as I find them too long and makes me feel vulnerable, but I'm resigned to that.

saraclara Sat 06-Apr-19 23:12:59

I'm extremely claustrophobic, but have managed two MRIs. The first time was the classic tube type, and I really thought I wouldn't be able to do it. But once I shut my eyes, I was fine. I'm with the others. Shut your eyes before you're slid in, and you won't need to use the 'get me out' button.
The second more recent one, was in a more modern scanner, and was MUCH easier. The 'ceiling' of the scanner wasn't so near my face, and I didn't feel anywhere near as closed in. I think most are like that now.

Gronky Sat 06-Apr-19 23:15:00

I so don't want to wear a gown as I find them too long and makes me feel vulnerable, but I'm resigned to that.

Is there any scope for long underwear?

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