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Tips for staying calm during your next MRI scan

MRI Scan

Despite the fear they may induce, MRIs are a necessary part of diagnosing and managing a vast range of conditions.

The MRI scan procedure itself can be an unusual, noisy, and even frightening experience, especially if you’ve never had an MRI before. It can cause anxiety even in experienced professionals.

We would recommend that before going for MRI you should check the reviews of the medical center online because the environment and good staff are very important and can help to reduce your anxiety and fear. Search for MRI Near Me, check their reviews and visit the medical center which has the best reviews.

With that, anticipating and understanding what to expect during an MRI will help you perform the scan. Here are some tips to help make your MRI experience as stress-free as possible.

When your doctor orders your scan

Ask your doctor what he or she wants to see on the MRI: the brain, part of the spinal cord, or both. If your doctor wants a scan of both, which is likely if this is your first MRI, you may be asked if you prefer one or two sessions.

Here are some things to consider when deciding:

  • Doing everything at the same time can take up to two hours.
  • If you split it up, the sessions will be shorter each time, but you will have to keep two appointments and you will likely have to receive gadolinium (contrast material) more than once.

What to do on your MRI scan day

Before you leave home on the day of your MRI appointment, keep these in mind:

  • Don’t wear jewelry. Leave all your jewelry at home, unless you want to waste time removing it once you arrive.
  • Avoid using metal. Some MRI centers allow you to wear your own clothing instead of a hospital gown during the scan, as long as there are no metal buttons, snaps, or zippers, so keep this in mind when dressing. Try wearing a t-shirt and stretchy pants or shorts and comfortable shoes.
  • Dress for warmth Dress lightly or in layers that you can easily remove, and avoid thick, heavy socks. It can get very hot in the MRI machine, especially in the area you are scanning. If you are worried about being cold, the MRI technician can provide you with a blanket.
  • Consider a sports bra. For women, a sports bra can help you feel more comfortable. Otherwise, you will have to go without a bra in the machine.

What to do when you arrive at the MRI center

When you arrive at the MRI center, before your scan, remember:

  • Take a cough suppressant if you need one. Coughing inside the machine may cause the test to restart if you move your head. For some people, not being able to cough invariably triggers the urge to cough. Make it easy on yourself and consider taking an over-the-counter cough drop when you arrive.
  • Take a sedative if you need one. If you’re claustrophobic or very afraid of the procedure itself, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for a sedative. Explain that you feel anxious and think you need it.
  • Request a blanket if the room is cold, as well as earplugs and music if not provided. Once you are on the machine, there is no movement or stopping. So, order everything you need or might need beforehand. While the machine is heating up if the room is cold or you have a tendency to feel cold, put a blanket over you. Earplugs and headphones are standard protocol at most MRI centers to help block out noise from the machine, but if your technician forgets one or the other, remember that. You would like to have these things once the test starts.

What to do during the scan

During the scan, there is not much you can do, but try to relax. Here are some tips:

  • Use the mirror, or avoid it at all costs. Sometimes there is a small mirror placed above your head, which is tilted so you can see the outside of the machine. Some people find this extremely comfortable, and others find it disorienting. Check it out and decide which camp you are in. If you don’t like it, just keep your eyes closed.
  • Practice creative visualization. Imagine the most pleasant and relaxing place you have ever been. Imagine that you are there. Try to remember small details about this place. Focus on colors, lighting, temperature, and scents.
  • Breathe regularly and steadily. Try counting your breaths to 10, then count down. Repeating this is so relaxing that you may even fall asleep during the scan.
  • Use mantras or prayers. Repeating a positive affirmation or empowering phrase, such as “It’s okay” or “I’m safe and strong,” can help induce the relaxation you want to feel on the machine. If you have a favorite prayer, this is a good time to recite it in your mind.

After your MRI

After your MRI scan, here are a couple of things you can do:

  • Drink a lot of water. Gadolinium contrast dye must be excreted by the kidneys, and drinking extra water can help speed up this process.
  • Treat yourself Get a massage, have lunch with a friend, or buy a light novel and get lost in history. If you’re too tired for that, take a bubble bath and go to bed early. You have earned it.
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