Getting an MRI can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you suffer from anxiety. The thought of being enclosed in a loud, narrow tube for an extended period of time is likely to freak out anyone, so you shouldn’t feel alone. However, some people might be able to deal with it a little better than others. So what are their secrets? MRI sedation is at the top– but that doesn’t have to be your only way to cope.
1. Ask for sedation. Many people aren’t aware that sedation is an option during an MRI, but it may be your best bet to alleviate your panic. MRI sedation can help you to relax with a mild sedative administered before your test begins. It’s a surefire way to feel more at ease and less tense, both mentally and physically.
2. Ask for a blindfold. Some MRI centers will already give you an eye mask–just like the ones you would use in bed to sleep–as part of the test. By blocking out your vision, it might be easier for you to envision yourself somewhere else. You might even forget where you are.
3. Listen to music. Okay, so perhaps you’re not going to completely forget where you are, because MRIs are extremely loud. During your test, you’ll hear constant loud machinery. Earplugs and headphones are a routine part of test preparation, but many testing centers will let you listen to music, which can help you focus on something else and calm down.
4. Talk to your technician. Perhaps the most obvious, but something you may overlook. There’s no reason to feel shame about your anxiety; remember that you are not the first, and certainly not the last, to feel this way. Make sure you feel comfortable with your technician and tell them about your anxiety. It is their job to ensure that you are comfortable, after all.
5. Relax and breathe. Tensing up won’t do you any good. Relax your shoulders, unclench your fists and teeth, and breathe. You might want to look into meditation or breathing techniques and practice before you get to your test.
6. Choose an open MRI. Many testing centers have open machines that don’t leave you fully enclosed. If extreme claustrophobia is taking it’s toll, this may be your best option to start with.
Open and MRI sedation centers like Open MRI of Orlando might be the best places to start your search if you’re feeling anxious. But as you can see, there are many other ways to relax. Communicate with your doctor and technician, and you’ll be getting through your MRI in no time.