Nobody has “getting MRI scans” listed as their favorite free time activity which is totally understandable.
However for some of us undergoing such procedure is more than just inconvenience. Being trapped in a tube with no room to move around can be frustrating even for the bravest. If you suffer from claustrophobia (an irrational fear of being closed in a small space and having no escape) you often find yourself avoiding situations where you could panic again. This excludes you from a lot of different adventures and sometimes from potentially life-saving diagnostic examinations too.
We collected a few tricks to get you through this overwhelming fear and to make your MRI scan experience better:
1. Let your doctor know about your feelings
Always let your doctor know if you’re feeling claustrophobic or anxious. This way the operator -who examines you- can prepare you for everything. Knowing what’s happening to them usually calms people down.
2. Know the innovations coming from our modern age
Experiences from years ago can keep the bad reputation of the MRI scans alive. Nowadays lot of diagnostic centers offer state-of-the-art MRI machines with short, wide tubes so you can feel a lot more comfortable while undergoing the scan.
3. Ask for earmuffs/ ear defenders
It’s now obvious that you will be given ear defenders during your scan so don’t be afraid to ask for it. A small object that makes a huge difference and reduces the noise and inconvenience.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for support
Ask a member of your family or a friend to accompany you to your examination. Believe us it will make you feel a lot better to have a beloved one around you to comfort you.
Easier said than done, right? However we speak from experience here. Lot of our former patients benefited from this trick: Memorize a longer text or poem to recall while getting the scan. This will keep your mind busy preventing you from panic mode.
6. Ask for a shorter examination period
The modern MRI machines are able to take quality pictures in shorter time. Ask the operator to shorten your examination period. Time is crucial when you suffer from claustrophobia.
7. Use herbal supplements
If you must take something to calm your upset soul try herbal remedies. Nature offers a lot of options and you can learn which one is working for you. And if you find yourself still in panic you can always ask for a mild sedative from your operator.
8. Know that you can end the examination whenever you need to:
This may or may not surprise you but a lot of claustrophobic fear comes from having no control over situations. Or at least you think you don’t have the control. Well, lots of us feel relieved when we learn it’s not the case with the MRI scanning.
You will have a panic button with you while getting the scan. Whenever you press it the operator will immediately stop the examination and get you out of the machine.
This happened to people before you and will happen to others too, so don’t feel embarrassed.
Better safe than sorry, right?
Hopefully you can free uneasy soul from these worries with our tips. Do you have other tricks we haven’t included yet? Let us know in the comments to help others.