Getting an MRI can be an anxiety-inducing experience for many patients. It can cause feelings of claustrophobia even in those who have never been claustrophobic. Some patients might even stress themselves out wondering what happens during an MRI.
During an MRI, a patient might have a lot on his or her mind, making it hard to relax and keep a clear mind during the procedure. Whether this is your first MRI scan or you’ve experienced one before, here are a few tips to help you stay relaxed and still during the procedure.
This one might sound obvious, but it’s one of the first things people forget to do when they’re put under a lot of stress. One of the most effective ways to relax is to control your breathing. There’s a reason breathing techniques are so essential and often used in yoga – they help clear your mind and allow you to focus all of your energy on one thing.
During an MRI, you should use this same method that is used in yoga classes. Take slow, deep breaths to ensure that you are breathing well. If it helps, count to 10 as you breathe in and out, and then gradually slow it down from there. Slow breathing will ensure a calm and relaxed state of mind.
Many facilities will allow you to listen to music through headphones while you are in the MRI scan room. At IBJI MRI & CT Services, we play your choice of music from your favorite online radio stations, such as Pandora or iHeartRadio, during most imaging procedures. Listening to music can be therapeutic in itself, so having music on in the background can put your mind in a relaxed state. Whether it’s rock, pop or classical, your favorite tunes likely will soothe you while you get an MRI scan. It is important to remember that for most of the procedure, you must remain perfectly still, so you will have to resist the urge to dance along to your favorite song!
Bringing a friend or family member along for emotional support is another great option when it comes to keeping calm during an MRI. Having someone familiar there may also help to lighten the mood. Bring someone whom you can be yourself with and who will allow you to take your mind off of things while you relax and hold still.
For many patients, the moment they realize they are uncomfortable in an MRI scan is when they look up and see that they are in an enclosed space. To prevent this, wear a sleeping mask over your eyes so you won’t be able to look around and worry about the space you are in. You can also request that a small towel be placed over your eyes to have the same effect as a sleeping mask.
If none of these relaxation methods work for you, you might want to take a sedative medication before going in for your scan. Consult with your doctor to figure out what you should take and how early you should take it. Being asleep during the procedure might prove to be one of the easiest relaxation methods there is. Just be sure there will be someone available to drive you to and from your appointment. Make these arrangements well in advance to avoid any stress or confusion.
You must remember that the results of the MRI scan will be beneficial to your health. Having an MRI can be one of the first steps you and your doctor take to improve your overall health. . Simply put, if you are experiencing pain or have an injury to your spine, joints, extremities, or pelvis, an MRI scan can help with your diagnosis, which will be beneficial to you in the long run.
To ensure a stress-free MRI experience, you’ll want to make sure that your appointment is scheduled as soon as possible with an experienced team of imaging professionals who are dedicated to quality care, service, and patient comfort. At Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, we work hard to ensure a comfortable MRI experience for our patients. Find your nearest MRI & CT Center and schedule your appointment today!