How to stay calm during an MRI

If you have been referred for an MRI by your physician or you are paying for a private scan, you may be worried about the procedure. 

Despite seeming quite scary, MRIs are actually considered one of the safest medical procedures available. 

However, as you will be expected to lay still within the machine for quite some time during the scan, those with claustrophobia tend to dread MRIs. They can also be quite loud, making the whole experience even more stressful and anxiety-inducing for patients. 

Today we are highlighting ways you can calm yourself down during or before an MRI, so the experience is not so bad.

Maintain Contact With The Technician 

While the scan is complete, you will still have access to support. You will be provided with a headset before the procedure from which you can listen to music or speak to your technician. This might be so they can ask you to stay still, or to talk you through the process so it is less intimidating. 

If you are particularly nervous, there is nothing to say you cannot start a conversation with the technician; whether it is about a holiday you have got booked, the weather, or your plans for the weekend. As the machine can be quite loud, you will have to time your conversation accordingly, but the technician will be more than happy to talk to you if it will make you feel more comfortable. 

Listen to Music

For those that do not want to talk, you will have the option of listening to music. If you are being referred for an MRI, you will receive a letter saying what is allowed. Patients are welcome to bring a CD of their choice, or to bring an iPod which will connect to the headphones. Music cannot totally drown the sound of the MRI out, but soothing music may help you feel calmer. 

Do not do it alone 

Unlike some other diagnostic machines, MRI imaging does not require radiation to work. That means that family or friends are able to stay within the examination room throughout the process. Depending on which area of the body you are having scanned, your friend might be able to hold your leg or arm so you know they are there for you. As long as they do not get in the way of the machine working, it should be completely fine to have them with you – although you should consult your technician beforehand to check. 

Wear a sleep mask

If you are claustrophobic, a sleep mask may help you feel a little more at ease. Put the sleep mask on before the bed is moved into the machine, so that you do not have to see the space whatsoever. Then, lay back and relax. A lot of the MRI scan is all about laying still, meaning you will likely just have the ceiling to look at. A sleep mask can help relax you as well as prevent you from looking around the room – which could interrupt the scan. There are lots of ways to stay calm and make the MRI process easier. Practicing mindfulness has also had a positive impact on patients during the scan, so it is worth taking a look at a few options to understand what might make you feel more relaxed before you go in.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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