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I had an MRI today and I feel ill.

(48 Posts)
DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 19:36:10

I've put this here for a couple of reasons-I can't be bothered to n/c; I don't want to scare anyone who has to have an MRI in the future and who searches for MRI on here; and I'm really embarrassed.

It was a scan of my head and neck and I knew I was going to struggle with the claustrophobia, but I didn't know it was going to make me feel so awful.

I had it because the neurologist I was referred to suggested it. He has diagnosed me with migraine (visual disturbance, weird arm pain and what I thought were bouts of labyrinthitis but he thinks are connected to migraine).

I am so embarrassed. They couldn't finish the scan-I had to come out early-they got the head scan in full. But I felt so dizzy and unwell. My ears started hurting. My mouth was so dry (combination of the nerves, hayfever medication and the new drug for the migraines).

I almost fell over when I got up because my balance was so off. And hours later I still feel like shit, nauseous, dizzy, earache and very tearful.

Is this normal? Because I feel like a total wimp and a weirdo. And I don't know how long I'm likely to feel like this for. Anyone got any ideas?

Crumbs1 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:57:25

The MRI has no physical side effects. It's probably the anxiety around the claustrophobic reaction. Should pass quickly enough.

mineofuselessinformation Tue 11-Apr-17 20:03:44

I disagree, Crumbs.
I have no problem with claustrophobia, but felt very peculiar for a few hours after a head MRI.
I know information says you don't have any effects, but I did.

DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 20:04:56

Thanks Crumbs

I was shocked-I didn't think I'd have such a strong reaction TBH, but my ears are throbbing. I feel like they've been damaged almost, which is just so odd, isn't it? And I felt like I was on a waltzer at one point, spinning, just like a labyrinthitis attack, although that passed pretty quickly I just feel mildly dizzy now and have done on and off all day.

I don't think I'll ever be able to have one ever again- so here's hoping it was all normal.

What a twat.

DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 20:07:48

X post mine

That's interesting then, conflicting views. The claustrophobia was better for the neck scan because the cage thing was smaller but I felt worse during that one.

The lady doing it (radiographer?) said it was the strongest machine, but I think that was to make me feel a bit better because I was so embarrassed. And I may have misheard because I just wanted to get away!

IHeartDodo Tue 11-Apr-17 20:11:03

I don't think MRI should have any effects at all...
It's probably the after effects of the stress/claustrophobia. They can be pretty disturbing if you're not used to it.

TheFurryMenace Tue 11-Apr-17 20:16:03

Don't beat yourself up OP. I am a health professional and had to go for one for a lump on my hand, so I wasn't even fully head all the way in the scanner. I was traumatised. I felt really unwell and tearful and spent the rest of the day in bed. The unpredictable vibration and banging noise totally sent me into a tailspin. Though I did manage to complete the scan, thank god, there was no way they'd have got me back in there! I don't think the staff explained what to expect which would have helped lower my anxiety I think.

Hope you are ok now. Take care.

DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 20:16:52

I have accompanied my mum to a few and she is always fine afterwards, so I really wasn't expecting to feel like this.

I've had painkillers and I've done everything I need to do for the day, so I'm just going to take it easy and hope I feel better after a good nights sleep.

DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 20:22:17

Thanks TheFurryMenace

The head cages were grim and I didn't like the movement of the table at all.

Weird how it's made us both tearful though. That wasn't in the letter!

Asmoto Tue 11-Apr-17 20:23:14

I have no issues at all with claustrophobia and find the scan itself merely boring, but MRIs always leave me feeling ill afterwards - sick, dizzy and jumpy. When I try to sleep, I keep waking with a jerk. The effects last about 24 hours - I can only think I have some kind of nervous response to the magnetic field, because it's definitely not fear of the scan itself. I hope you feel better soon, OP.

thatorchidmoment Tue 11-Apr-17 20:25:45

Lots of people struggle to tolerate an MRI as it is much louder and more claustrophobic than a CT scanner. If it's absolutely vital to have it, I think sedation is an option.

It's quite likely that the stress and noise of having the MRI triggered a migraine, and you say that is what your neurologist thinks could be behind the dizziness and other symptoms? That sounds completely plausible to me (my DH is a neurologist and migraines can be pretty weird and wonderful. Well, probably not wonderful. I get them too). Stress is a well-known trigger fr migraine.

One of the early features of my own migraines is a greatly increased sensitivity to sound. When I start telling my children to stop shouting when they are not actually shouting at all, they know mummy is about to go and lie down for a bit, and they will quite often tell me I have one before I've quite realised it myself. It's possible you were hyper sensitive to the sound, which can be painful, and the dizziness/vertigo was part and parcel of your migraine.

I hope you get started on some proper treatment and get some answers despite an incomplete scan today!


DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 20:36:37

Thank you both.

The 'scan lady' said that they did have enough of the neck, which is what made me say enough then. I'd done the head one fully, so I'm hoping the neurologist will have enough.

I've started Topiramate under his instruction, so I'm hopeful I'll get all this sorted.

Thanks again-but don't be too nice. I might cry. Again!

smurfy2015 Tue 11-Apr-17 20:40:43

@DoItTooJulia offers you a supportive brew,

just goes to show how different we all are, for me and ive had 2 already this year and will be having at least 2 more before August,

i find them relaxing and actually enjoyable, once i am strapped in place, i put on a eyemask and just chill out, when they try to give me the alarm thingy to hold to press for them, i sit it on my chest and get my hands comfy,

i usually do a visualation while i am in there, most recent one, i was a bit peed off when a voice spoke to say only 4 more mins to go, i was almost asleep,

there had been a possibility that it would have been put off that evening as i had become unwell while in the waiting room and it slowed things down, my communication methods were gone and my co-ordination so the time to relax and wind down was good for me before getting ready to leave the mri centre

DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 20:46:31

Cheers smurfy I so wish that I could have been like that!

lilyborderterrier Tue 11-Apr-17 20:46:41

Bless you lovely xx they are horrible I agree, I had one on my stomach about 2 weeks ago for a large fibroid, I'm also 20 weeks pregnant. It was horrible I totally freaked out twice. They had to get me out to calm me down, it was so claustrophobic, noisy and very uncomfortable. Having the baby wriggling around like mad was also very strange.
Don't worry the lovely nurses said it affects everyone differently and they've had big burly men turn into gibberish wrecks.
I hope you are feeling better now love xx

smurfy2015 Tue 11-Apr-17 20:46:41

@DoItTooJulia as i see you mention topiramate, it gave me the jitters a lot when i was on it as a migraine preventative, i was nervous as hell and very very restless, i lost 4 stone in 2 months as couldnt eat or sleep.

Also as a side bit of info, if you drink anything carbonated now, the taste may be affected by topiramate so watch out for that as you increase the doses as it is really nasty when it happens - just so you are aware re taste perversion when it happens

user1489226029 Tue 11-Apr-17 20:54:19

You are not alone. I made a bit of a full of myself before mine thought I was going to have a full on panic attack!!! I am claustrophobic and mine was head and neck. The combination of banging and vibrations made me feel very peculiar. It's not for everyone and if it wasn't for the lovely sympathetic nurse I would of bottled it.

user1489226029 Tue 11-Apr-17 20:55:04


DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 20:56:06

I haven't strayed increasing the Topiramate yet-the pollen count went through the roof so I started on my strong prescription antihistamine and I'm not sure if I should take them both together but my GP is on holiday, sink can't get an appointment for quite a while to check! So I'm sticking to the evening for Topiramate and morning for fexafenadine.

And to think, 4 weeks ago I wasn't taking any regular medication.

Thanks though. I'm super thirsty on it and drink fizzy water by the litre at the minute, so it'll be interesting!

DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 21:01:59


user I must admit as soon as the cages went on and they put me in, I asked to be bought out. I didn't think I'd do it (and I don't think the staff did either).

And geez lily you're hardcore to manage it pregnant. I don't think I'd have fitted in it at 20 weeks.

I'm feeling a bit better now. I've eaten, the painkillers have kicked in and I've got my feet up. Thanks all-appreciate the sympathy.

smurfy2015 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:02:45

As im not a medic and even if i was, i wouldnt give advice over the internet, i can say to watch out for that as you increase the dose as its not a matter of if, its when -

it helps to have an idea of whats happening before it potentially happens as i had to turn to Dr Google to help me and gp confirmed it the following week

thatorchidmoment Tue 11-Apr-17 21:02:55

I'm pretty sure there will be enough on your scan for your neurologist and radiologist to exclude anything of concern.

Out of interest, have you been advised to try anything as a treatment the next time you have your symptoms? My husband advises his migraine patients to take high-dose ibuprofen (800mg, so twice usual dose) immediately they get their aura/warning symptoms. That can sometimes ward off a full-blown migraine really effectively and would add weight to the theory that this is the cause of your symptoms.

I don't expect you to take medical advice from me as I'm a stranger on the Internet (although medically trained). Just interested if that is part of getting to the bottom of things for you!

Mrsmadcatlady Tue 11-Apr-17 21:07:56

I've had several head/neck MRIs and even though I'm luckily not claustrophobic, I did feel a bit weird after my last one. I had to have gadolinium intravenously as they needed to do a contrast (looking at blood supply to a small benign tumour) and I got a bit of a headache and a wobbly leg feeling afterwards. It did pass fairly quickly.

Managed to strain my bum cheeks too thought when I had to strip off and put a gown on, they meant everything so spend the whole MRI with legs pressed firmly together so they didn't see my lady garden from under my gown

DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 21:16:17

thatorchid no-but it may because they're silent migraines.

The reason I went to my GP is because I was getting this really weird upper arm 'pain' that eventually spread to my other arm too. (Pain isn't quite the right word, sensation and discomfort would be better perhaps) and i wondered if it was carpal tunnel related.

So she sent me for nerve conduction studies, which showed the CTS but didn't explain the arm pain. So she referred me to the neurologist.

In between the nerve conduction studies and the referral I started getting the visual disturbances.

He took a very, very thorough history. I used to get tension headaches as a teenager, and these dwindled into my early 20s. Then the episodes of labyrinthitis started. Then the arm pain, then the visual disturbance but no headache to speak of. I do get a horrible postdrome phase though.

I had never put it all together like that though-he did. I should be seeing him again in the summer.

Again, really grateful to everyone chatting to me about it. It is helping me smile

DoItTooJulia Tue 11-Apr-17 21:19:37


They did mention contrast, but it never materialised-I wonder if they couldn't face the reaction to that! wink

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