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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:
Eggproducer · 13/06/2019 22:20

Oh also I was allowed to keep my wedding and engagement rings on.

ranoutofquinoaandprosecco · 13/06/2019 22:20

You'll be fine. This time last year I hadn't had any MRIs now I've had several.
Take on board that you will need to change into a hospital gown with your knickers underneath. They won't let you feel embarrassed. Maybe a vest top instead of a bra.
I was very worried before my first but the staff are amazing and will help you and actually it's a lot bigger than you imagine. It's quite noisy but I liked that. I opted every time for music but to be fair I would have been happy without.
Good luck and plan a treat for when it's finished! X

nancy75 · 13/06/2019 22:21

I have had 8 MRI scans (lucky me!) I’ve never had to wear gown. I always wear leggings & a t shirt and take my bra off when I get there. The people that do it are usually really helpful, you get a buzzer for if it gets too much & they talk you through it all.
Some have music & some don’t - I prefer music as I e been in for quite long scans & it helps pass the time.
I find the best way to deal with it is to shut my eyes before they move the bed in & keep them shut throughout.
You have to keep very still so get comfortable before you tell them you are ready.

AlunWynsKnee · 13/06/2019 22:25

Diazepam, keeping my eyes shut and a CD that I like works for me.
Earrings out, rings off, yoga pants and a sports bra should be fine.

BasiliskStare · 13/06/2019 22:30

I have had two and was utterly dreading it .

They were a lot better than I thought. No jewellery / metal ( so no e.g. bra fastenings ) but leggings / yoga pants / t shirt fine. Also gold jewellery seems to be fine

They are a bit noisy but in the end I thought it sounded like a little bird tweeting at a frog & some times it sounds like a lorry backing up. ( So a bit ribbit ribbit , tweet tweet and a bit beep beep ) Honestly - not as bad as I thought. Also they tell you all the time what is happening so you do not feel alone. & when I had mine you have a panic button.

Honestly I was dreading it @MeadowHay & have now had 2 and if I had to have another I would not lose sleep over it.

Good luck

Fiontar649 · 13/06/2019 22:31

I have MRIs fairly regularly. I find keeping my eyes closed makes me more claustrophobic for some reason, so I keep them open now. You can decide what is easier for you. I usually wear tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt, so I just have to slip off my bra. The first time I had one I discovered I was more claustrophobic than I realised, but now I concentrate on the music playing and my breathing. I think my last one was 6 songs. You will be fine, promise Smile

Whoops75 · 13/06/2019 22:31

I’ve had 2 since Christmas, lower back/ pelvis.
I asked to go in feet first and when I looked up and back with my eyes I could see outside the tunnel.
It’s Aprox 6 feet long definitely nothing like a donut, that’s another scan.
I opted for music and it took 6 songs to get it done. I found counting the songs a distraction.
It’s not easy but it’s doable and you’ll be so proud of yourself when it’s over.

Good luck x

badguys · 13/06/2019 22:35

I am claustrophobic so took diazepam.

I also practiced breathing exercises to keep me calm during the scan.

However, the best thing I did was watch some you tube videos of MRI noises / sounds the night before. If I hadn't done that I honestly think the noises it makes would have pushed me over the edge. It is loud, inconsistent and unpredictable. Even with headphones and ear plugs. So if you think that might bother you, google and listen to some of the noises.

I was shitting it and I got through mine. You'll be absolutely fine. Thanks

bigredfolder · 13/06/2019 22:39

@sunday38 🤷🏼‍♀️ my letter from the hospital said not to wear them.

bigredfolder · 13/06/2019 22:42

@parietal I have lots of metal work from broken bones. Wasn't an issue.

DaisyDreaming · 13/06/2019 22:43

I take comfort in the knowledge I could easily scoot out of the scanner if I wanted. I’m claustrophobic but it feels fine to me as I know I can escape by flipping the head bit if it’s a head mri and wiggle down and out. I wouldn’t get off but knowing I could helps a lot and knowing I can tell them to stop too

MeadowHay · 13/06/2019 22:52

Not sure if I will be able to feet first as cervical spine may be part of the scan I'm not sure tbh, if it is does that mean I'd need to go head first? Feet first does sound less scary. Noises don't think would bother me but music I'm sure would help distract me from my anxiety. It's a private hospital so I imagine they would have facilities for music...I hope so...just got DH to take my two helix piercings out and just when I told him to be careful with a ball bearing I passed him he instantly dropped it and now it is lost..

OP posts:
nancy75 · 13/06/2019 22:59

The ones I’ve had in private hospitals have all had music available. If it’s a scam on your neck you will be head first & might have the cage thingy - I have head, neck & spine and have to have the cage - it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds

Mac47 · 13/06/2019 23:05

I've had several lower spine mris and all were head first. I wear a sports bra so don't have to remove my usual underside bra. I do ensure my hair elastic has no metal bits on it.
First time I had one, the noise totally freaked me out (years ago) so I sang throughout to drown it out, I had no clue it would be so fucking loud or last so long. I also had no idea they could hear my horrific singing until I got out....

Spooksandchocolatecake · 13/06/2019 23:13

It will be fine,my dd has had 2 in the last 6 months she absolutely loves them one was for a lump on her leg and the other was a brain scan because she's lost 40 percent of her perifral vision in one eye(that was on Tuesday so we still don't have a clue).She wore jogging bottoms sports bra and a t shirt both times so didn't have to get changed. She had a whale of a time she has asd so loved the repetitive noise.First time she chose not to have any and the second time she chose oasis Grin.

ethelredonagoodday · 13/06/2019 23:14

I've had a couple. They are very loud, but as PPs have said, you'll get some sort of ear defenders and possibly music.

My top tip, is to put your hands at your sides. I stupidly rested mine sort of in my lap, and then about half way through, my arms started going to sleep, and I didn't feel I had time to move them! I'm sure I could have, but I was in for about 45 mins (was a full spine scan) so it's a long time to lie in one position!

Good luck OP, think of it as chance for an uninterrupted lie down!

Pipersouth · 13/06/2019 23:15

I’ve had a couple on my head and I really dreaded the feeling of being closed in. Strange as it may sound I closed my eyes before I went in (no music option given to me) and visualised the old Star Trek scanner where it just kind of hangs over your head and lights up! Also fresh air was pumped in so next step was imagining being outside and what I could see! It helped me

BasiliskStare · 14/06/2019 00:41

When I had mine they gave me a blanket as they said it might get chilly - I suppose that might be the air being pumped in @Pipersmouth The blanket was curiously comforting.

The noise to me was not a problem & by the end of the second one I was making up stories in my head about the gribbeting frogs and the tweeting birds & the reversing lorry.

MeadowHay · 15/06/2019 15:47

Just to update - I did it yesterday! I took my 5mg diazepam but it didn't help too much I was still sooo anxious but I didn't freak out or have a panic attack or anything. I did find it horrible and scary but I managed to stay still and concentrate on the music and my breathing. I took a sleep bra and leggings to change from my bra and jeans so got to keep all my clothes on. I did have that horrible head thing but that wasn't as bad as I was expecting tbh. I think the main thing that made the difference was that as some PP said I didn't realise either way I would be able to sort of see out of at least one end of it at all times so that helped me.

OP posts:
badguys · 15/06/2019 16:37

Really pleased for you, OP. Thanks

Notageek · 15/06/2019 17:14

Yeh well done !

BasiliskStare · 16/06/2019 15:28

Well done @MeadowHay - it isn't something you would want as a hobby but open at both ends not like a submarine chute. I looked out - I could see the ceiling. So pleased you have been through it - well done & hope all well.

MeadowHay · 16/06/2019 23:20

Thanks, have my follow up later this week but I'm not worried as it was really more of a super-cautious approach, it's very unlikely that anything major will be picked up on it.

OP posts:
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