One of the more anxiety-provoking testing procedures for many people is having an MRI screening. From the noisy knocking, tapping, and buzzing, to the feeling of being trapped inside a tubular torture chamber, the experience of it is not always considered pleasant. Fearing any sort of medical procedures is normal. The important thing to know is the technicians performing the procedure are highly-trained professionals and you’ll be in capable hands.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a tool using magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of your organs and tissues within your body. MRI is a noninvasive way for your doctor to examine your organs, tissues, and skeletal system from the high-resolution images it produces. The images produced are 3-D that can be viewed from many different angles helping doctors to diagnose a variety of problems.
But, there is nothing to fear. Having MRI is completely painless and usually is over within a few minutes. The MRI technician will discuss with you before and during the procedure, allowing you to express any concerns or questions you may have. In addition, if you do get to a point of feeling claustrophobic, a call button inside the machine can be pressed at any time to let the technician know if you need to be repositioned or to get out of the machine right away.
Here are 8 other tips helping make your experience of an MRI as comfortable as possible:
Do your research
When your doctor orders an MRI, know why they are doing so. When you know why MRI is being done and understand the process behind the procedure, this builds confidence helping soothe fears. It’s important to ask questions you may have so that there is no confusion during the testing day. Sometimes it might help to speak to family or friends who have gone through MRI to hear of their experiences from people you trust.
Allow yourself plenty of time to get the facility where the MRI will be done. Getting stuck in traffic and rushing around before the appointment will only heighten anxiety levels. By arriving early, this gives you time to become calm and relaxed.
Talk to the technician
The technicians know that having an MRI can be stressful for many people. By keeping the lines of communication open between you and them, even expressing your fears, can help them know of your feelings and will make the experience as relaxing as possible. You will be given a set of headphones via which you can talk and listen with the technician during the procedure. The technician will tell you what’s happening and answer your questions. To take your mind off the procedure, find a topic to talk about such as your children, your job, or anything to take your mind off the scan.
Listen to music
Music has a way of soothing the soul and any fears you are feeling. You can request for music to be played while having an MRI. In most cases, you can either bring your own playlist of songs or pick something they can offer to help you relax.
Bring a friend
Since no radiation is involved with an MRI, a friend or family member can usually remain with you during the scan. Just knowing someone you are close to is nearby can be very comforting in helping you remained calm.
Since you’ll be laying down on your back, it helps to wear comfortable clothing such as sweat pants and a T-shirt. Women cannot wear a bra with an underwire so plan on wearing a sports bra instead.
To take you mind off the procedure use mindfulness to do so. Here’s how: close your eyes, release any tension in the jaw area and be aware of your tongue sitting on the floor of your mouth. Imagine a light which radiates warmth coming into your feet. This warmth travels all the way up your body, down each arm into each finger, and then back up into the neck, around your face and finally sitting on top of your head.
Wear a sleeping mask
To prevent you from seeing the confined space of the MRI, it might help to wear a sleeping mask. It’s also a good way to grab a few Zzzz’s at the same time.
Dr. David B. Samadi is a Urologic Oncology Expert and Robotic Surgeon located at 485 Madison Avenue on the 21st floor, New York, NY – 212-365-5000. Follow Dr. Samadi at www.samadimd.com, www.prostatecancer911.com, and www.roboticoncology.com.