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Having an MRI scan and anxious

48 replies

MeadowHay · 13/06/2019 21:44

I am having an MRI scan tomorrow of my back. The doctor didn't really tell me anything about it and I did get a leaflet but it was brief. He did ask if I was claustrophobic and I said no as I don't really consider myself to be as I don't have an intense fear of small spaces generally but then I got home and thought about it and I do get a bit funny and anxious in small spaces. Not awfully so, but then I've never been trapped anywhere as small as an MRI scanner before. I have some diazepam at home that I take occasionally for my anxiety so I will take that. Not sure whether to take my low dose to try and take the edge of anxiety or a bigger dose to make me feel properly sleepy (I can do the latter safely still, I do occasionally and GP is aware). Thing is I might be absolutely fine when I'm in there but I'm anxious about being too anxious and freaking out when I'm in it...! Also I know I need to take all my ear piercings out but I have no idea what to wear. I'm assuming I need to take my top off to have my back exposed?! Doctor didn't tell me anything argh.

OP posts:
bigredfolder · 13/06/2019 21:52

Is the mri on your back?

I've had an mri and I removed clothes and wore a gown they gave me.

Just follow all of the instructions in the letter.

The scanner is very noisy so be prepared for that. They will give you earphones and ask if you want music (I declined as other people's song choices irritate me more than anything Grin).

Just close your eyes and try to relax.

MeadowHay · 13/06/2019 21:54

Yes it's of my spine. I don't have a letter! It's a private hospital. Oh god so I will need to wear a hospital gown?! Eeeek that will be a first didn't even wear one when I gave birth

OP posts:
bigredfolder · 13/06/2019 21:57

Ok so as far as I can remember; no make up, body creams, jewellery, anything metallic on body at all. I think no nail polish but can't quite remember (in case of glitter particles probably).

TerfOnTheWagon · 13/06/2019 22:00

Ring the hospital and speak to the consultant's secretary. He/she will have heard all the questions before and will reassure you about everything. Please make sure you understand everything as it's a right pain for the radiologist to have to cancel and rebook etc

(Also, I had a knee MRI and they played music in my headphones and of the 6 tracks they played, 4 were in my Top 20 tunes of all time!!! And they were all 80s tunes - maybe they looked at my age and thought it was appropriate?!Grin)

mineofuselessinformation · 13/06/2019 22:03

You'll be able to keep your knickers on as long as they don't have any metal in them! The gown is just for privacy so you should be fine.
I don't think you will be given a cage over your head (they need this for head scans) so you should be fine.
Just be prepared for some loud clunky / humming noises - it's just the machine doing its job.
The machine is a bit like a long doughnut. By the time your body is in, your legs will be out the other side.
You may well be asked what music you would like played on headphones. This is to help distract from the funny noises the machine will make.
If you're still feeling anxious when you get there, tell the nurse who is helping you - they'll be able to reassure you.
Good luck! Smile

parietal · 13/06/2019 22:03

the most important safety consideration for MRI is that you must have no metal in your body. the scanner is magnetic so if you have metal then it can heat up or even move (e.g. if you have big metal screws from broken bones). There will be lots of safety questions to check this so make sure you are awake enough to answer them properly.

you will definitely have to wear a gown or scrubs (no bra because of the underwire)

when you are in the scanner, you can talk to the people in the control room and you have a buzzer to stop the scanner if you want to get out. so you are never trapped. but you do have to stay very still for them to get good pictures. Take time to get comfortable before you go in so you can stay still easily.

Watto1 · 13/06/2019 22:06

DM (who is extremely claustrophobic) found an eye mask to be very helpful.

Notageek · 13/06/2019 22:08

I had an Mri ...for mine they took me to a room and went through a checklist of health history, no metal body parts etc. Then told me to take off earrings and go me to choose from a menu of music / radio etc etc (there must have been 20+ choices so think about what would distract you). I put my valuables in a locker then was walked into the big MRI room and hung the key by the door.

The middle table bit is outside the MRI and they set it up with foam pads for you to lay on so you don’t move around. Then they gave me headphones (for the music) and told me what to do if I felt panicky as they can stop I think.

The table bit then slides into the scanner and there is loud whirring and clunking which you can hear in the background as the music blots most if it out. I only had my knee done so didn’t go right in , but I’d just shut my eyes and focus on the music ..imagine you’re falling asleep in front of a loud tv . Once it was done the music stopped and then a voice said ‘thats it, we’re coming to get you out now.

RosaWaiting · 13/06/2019 22:09

it's a hospital gown thingy yes

it is noisy

I took 5mg diazepam before and was fine. I am claustrophobic though.

MeadowHay · 13/06/2019 22:09

HM, I have an eye mask. But then maybe they would make it worse if I can't see?! Idk...could I wear little shorts and a non wired bra under the gown? I have had a baby but I still hate not wearing clothes! What about fillings btw, I'm sure they weren't mentioned on the leaflet they gave me but I do have two amalgam fillings

OP posts:
MeadowHay · 13/06/2019 22:10

I can take 5mg diazepam but depending on how anxious I end up being it may not be enough to really help. But 10mg would make me fairly sleepy etc so not ideal.

OP posts:
RosaWaiting · 13/06/2019 22:10

no music!

but they did also keep talking and asking me to inhale and hold breath blah blah blah. It was for internal organs though, not for a back thing.

maybe I would have been offered music if I didn't have to follow instructions.

RosaWaiting · 13/06/2019 22:11

x post

I think I kept bra and knickers on

I also have a filling - I think it's amalgam? it was fine.

MeadowHay · 13/06/2019 22:11

Thank you I am still v anxious but this is all really helping! I wish someone could come with me but there isn't anyone who can

OP posts:
peony2325 · 13/06/2019 22:11

In my experience I've not had to change into a gown as long as the clothes you're wearing are warm and comfortable and don't contain any metal eg zip, buttons, clasps. Also have to take off your bra if it has underwiring.

My tip is to close your eyes when they're moving you in as it helps you not feel claustrophobic for the first couple of minutes. Like a pp said you have a buzzer you can press if there are any problems. Remember the radiographers do these scans all day every day! Good luck.

ClarkGriswold · 13/06/2019 22:12

I had an MRI a few weeks ago while in hospital with a slipped disc - really was fine. The main thing is the noise, it is quite loud but they gave me headphones and asked what radio station I wanted on. I just closed my eyes and tried to switch off. I wore a hospital gown and my underwear (but was an inpatient so that's what I was already wearing!) Hope it all goes ok Smile

Nat6999 · 13/06/2019 22:12

I had a scan on my spine, I just took off all my jewellery, my glasses & my bra, I was allowed to keep my clothes on. The scan took about 15 minutes max.

lovelilies · 13/06/2019 22:14

I recently had an MRI spine NHS and wore my own clothes, leggings and a t-shirt with sports bra so no metal. Amd I got foam ear plugs not music 🙁

MeadowHay · 13/06/2019 22:15

Oh fab, well I will try to wear an outfit with none of that stuff and a non wired/crop top bra so hopefully they will let me keep my clothes on then or at least bra and little shorts.

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Notageek · 13/06/2019 22:15

Whole mouth full of amalgam absolutely fine !

DeadZed · 13/06/2019 22:15

Have got someone who will go with you OP, especially if you are going to take the extra diazepam?

In all honesty, I panicked too much and couldn't do it even with 5mg diazepam. Generally I am not an anxious person but I am too claustrophobic. I even get panicky at the thought of going into the tube now...

Whynotdance · 13/06/2019 22:16

I went to a private hospital for MRI of spine. Took off own clothes except pants and put on gown. You're going in feet first with spine so it's not too bad. It's not great but not painful - very noisy, more boring than anything else. I got to choose album and listened to music on headphones but the machine is so noisy it does drown it out a bit. Good luck!

IAmcuriousyellow · 13/06/2019 22:19

I don’t remember the noise being constant.. I didn’t have music because I was interested. You get a bit of whirring buzzing and clicky business, and then some doof doof doof for a bit.. I don’t like confined spaces or being in caves but I didn’t find it alarming, I really didn’t. I felt very safe in fact because all the staff explained things calmly. It didn’t go on long. Try not to dread it, it’s honestly not an ordeal, good luck x

Eggproducer · 13/06/2019 22:19

I had a head scan recently and found it far more claustrophobic than I expected. The machine was just a few centimetres above my head and I was positioned so I couldn't move.

I wouldn't go as far to say I had a panic attack but my heart was racing and I was getting lots of intrusive thoughts like, "If there's a fire, can I even get out of this thing!".

I just shut my eyes and used each song to measure a unit of time - eg 3 minutes.

If your head isn't in the scanner, it shouldn't be claustrophobic at all. I have had one previously on my knee that was loud but absolutely fine.

sunday38 · 13/06/2019 22:19

Some definite misinformation on this thread.

Make-up, body lotion and nail varnish are all fine. Metal/Jewellery is not. You will be able to keep knickers on but will likely need to change into a hospital gown (but if you wear leggings without metal the radiographer may allow you to keep them on too if they are nice Wink )

If lower back you should be able to go into the scanner feet first, so less claustrophobic. Low dose diazepam should be fine but please ring department to check first.

"Big metal screws from broken bones" these are also fine and MRI compatible! Usually made from non magnetic metals.

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