Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the more useful forms of imaging because it shows more detail than either x-ray or CT. Due to anxiety, vertigo, and/or claustrophobia, some people face challenges with MRI. If you are scheduled for an MRI, there are ways to make the experience less daunting.
Ask About Testing Conditions
Although having a planned MRI can evoke anxiety for some people, the bright side is you have more opportunities to request special provisions when diagnostic tests are not performed in an emergency situation. Call ahead to the testing center to determine what resources they have available if you are uncomfortable. Since an MRI can be lengthy, they might offer to play music for you, since you will not be able to use your own headphones during testing.
Some centers allow you to bring someone to accompany you during testing. They will have to ensure the person does not have any metal inside their body and are not wearing any metal items. If you will perform the test alone, a nurse or other medical professional may be willing to accompany you and hold your hand or leg during the process to make you feel more comfortable. You may be able to wear foam earplugs if the loud sounds of the machine would make you nervous.
Talk To Your Doctor About Medications
Ask your primary doctor or specialist who is referring you for an MRI about medications that may help during the test. For example, some people have problems with benign positional vertigo, which can make lying flat for difficult or impossible. Meclizine is commonly used to help with this concern.
Fortunately, you can often find the same product in over-the-counter motion sickness medications, just be sure to ask your doctor if it is okay to take the medicine before the test. Similarly, many doctors are willing to give you a small, short-term dose of anti-anxiety medication if you have severe anxiety or claustrophobia, as long as you are not driving after the test. Since both meclizine and benzodiazepines work quickly, taking them 30 minutes before testing should be sufficient.
Learn Meditative Techniques
Try practicing different meditative techniques that may be useful during testing. If you are claustrophobic, it may help to keep your eyes closed as much as possible during testing to you are not focused on the small space. Developing controlled breathing techniques is also helpful to reduce anxiety. If you are more focused on your breathing during the test, you are less likely to focus on any anxiety you might have and the test may seem to go by faster. Having a mental image of someone or something that comforts you can also be a distraction.
MRI is a useful and painless diagnostic tool. For a small group of people, being in a confined space, vertigo, or general anxiety can make testing a challenge. Fortunately, there are ways to make the process more comfortable. Talk to doctors at centers like the Kenai Peninsula Imaging Center, LLC for more information.