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How to Survive an MRI if You Are Claustrophobic

February 23, 2017

A key test for identifying multiple sclerosis during diagnosis, or to confirm a relapse, is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.) For those who’ve never had to undergo an MRI, the thought of having this test might be terrifying. Being encased in a magnetic tube that, when operational, sends out deafening noise and requires complete stillness can be intimidating.

This is especially true for those who need to undergo diagnostics with and without contrast dye, and who also may need images of both the brain and spinal column. Remaining stone still for as long as an hour-and-a-half in a tight space isn’t a skill most people can boast! It doesn’t help that others describe the experience in ways that make it seem impossible to endure.

However, there are ways to survive it. Even a claustrophobic person has found solutions for managing the discomfort that an MRI portends.

Sounds- By now, MRI technicians in radiology labs have acquired the appropriate headgear to protect your ears and help you block out the noise. Most also come equipped with piped-in music you can concentrate on to relax. Be sure to choose the correct music and put the volume to your liking!

Sight- Claustrophobia is one of the biggest reasons why people can’t handle the MRI test. Being tucked inside a tube and asked to remain still is challenging even for someone who doesn’t have anxiety about tight spaces. When I go in, I ask to be tightly wrapped (“like a burrito”) with one of those white cotton blankets so prevalent in hospitals. Why? There’s a certain comfort in feeling “tucked in.” Heavy blankets are used by insomniacs, people with autism, and those with anxiety so they can sleep better. Getting tucked in offers the same benefits.

Get Help-When in doubt, you can request a very light relaxation medication like Ativan to settle nerves during an MRI. Make sure you also take your antispasmodic medications, if they’ve been prescribed. Stick to a healthy diet that supplies plenty of magnesium, calcium, and potassium so that you don’t find yourself struggling through charley horses midway through a scan. Even a banana right before your test can work wonders.

More Tips Here

Via MS NEWS TODAY