Knowing that you are going to have an MRI done can be scary. Many patients are more scared of claustrophobia while in the MRI machine than are scared about the reason they are getting the medical test done. I recently had an MRI test and I found that there are some things you can do to help ease your discomfort and fear of being enclosed in the tube of the MRI machine.
Overcome MRI Claustrophobia: Find Your Happy Place
I know this may sound silly to you but find your happy place. A day or two before your test, think of the place where you are the happiest. Use your imagination. Even as adults, our imaginations are still there. You just have to re-train your brain to be six-years-old again.
Close your eyes and visualize this place. Picture all the details and the people around you. What are you doing? Create a relaxing scenario that you will be happy to return to even after your MRI.
Overcome MRI Claustrophobia: Meditation
If you can’t find your find your happy place then try to completely clear your mind. Let go of all your to-do lists. Think of nothing. Think of black.
Meditation is relaxing while in an MRI machine. The MRI machine produces rhythmic thumping noises and some vibrations. Use these noises to get lost in your meditation. You may find that you fall asleep briefly while the test is being done.
Overcome MRI Claustrophobia: Music
Many medical centers have music piped right into the MRI room. Ask if you can bring your favorite CD or your MP3 player. If they have the capability then the staff will gladly let you listen to your own music.
The medical center may have its own list of music for you to choose from. Think about what you would like to listen to before entering your test. Decide if you would like something relaxing or more upbeat. Just be aware that there will be times when you will be asked to remain perfectly still, so no tapping your feet to the music.
Overcome MRI Claustrophobia: Medication
Your doctor can prescribe you a sedative if you don’t think any of these relaxing techniques will work. These sedatives can calm you or put you to sleep. It is a good idea to have someone drive you to and from your MRI test if you are planning on taking a sedative before the test.
When you get to your test, tell the staff what sedative you took and how long ago you took it. This will help them gauge your reaction to their requests while you are in the MRI machine.
Remember that the staff who are running the MRI machine will be talking to you at certain times. They will tell you how long each scan will take and what part of your body needs to remain perfectly still.
Finding my happy place is what works best for me for overcoming my claustrophobia inside and MRI machine. I hope one of these methods works for you.