Any tips on what helps you including alternative medicine.

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Postby *Lisa* » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:03 am

I wanted to share some of my tips on coping with having an MRI and suffering from Claustrophobia & Anxiety.

I went for my 3rd MRI today. First 2 were awful! first one being Lumbar Spine MRI in a normal MRI scanner and the second being a full spinal MRI in an Open Scanner. Both were horric experiences so because of this when I needed another urgent Lumbar Spine MRI I decided I needed to look into how I was going to get through this third one!

Having Anxiety & Claustrophobia an MRI scanner is probably one of the biggest fears to conquer! :shock: even "normal" people get some sort of anxiety in the scanner and your in the machine for 20-45minutes so it takes all your mental strength to get through it.

So I looked into ways that would help as I never wanted any more horric experiences and this scan was very important!

Control is one of the main issues with my Anxiety. I need to be in control. Trust is another huge problem. The Radiographers are unknown to me. I need to put my trust in strangers.

So here are my tips:

As soon as you receive your letter for an appointment date you can at any time call up and speak with someone about the proceedure/scanner and any fears/worries you may have. This can help prepare you.

Speak with your GP they can prescribe a muscle relaxant for you to have and take on the day. I didnt the first 2 times as I was unsure and didnt want to take any sedation meds but I did this 3rd time and it helped!

Take someone with you. Most MRI scanning now allow someone to be in the room with you by the machine. This aids support, comfort and reassurance. My mother came in and stood by me the whole way through, without her I may not have made it.

Be in control, explain your anxietys dont be afraid in telling them how "you" want the proceedure to go. Example: I asked for feet first, I asked them to slowly put me in the scanner stopping every few seonds so i could get used to going in. Once in the right position I never let the Radiographer leave me until I was certain my anxiety was Ok for her to leave and start the process.

Before I left home I listened for a few hours to some relaxation music. I found some on the youtube.

Luckily this scanner was in a bright room, the scanner was bigger being 10cm wider and not so low down giving me more room from my face to the top of the scanner. Ring up and ASK information on the scanner and if there is a bigger one in another hospital. Theres now 2 in mine. The horrid small one I first went in and now this bigger brighter one.

I took Diazapam as this helps anxiety and relaxes you. I went on 3 panic attacks but this subsided after 30seconds before the need to press the button. When entering a panic I looked over at my mother who reassured me which helped. The Radiographers speak to you and give encouragement this helps.

The noise of the machine does not affect me athough I know it does many others. For this they give you ear plugs and some headphones which plays music, this can help aid any panic from noise.

Heat. What they dont say is the heat that comes from the scanner. There is air being blown through the scanner so I would suggest you wear something light and cool like a t-shirt and cotton / thin bottoms.

Panic button: You hold onto a panoc button. At any time you just cannot cope and panic you press this button and they immediately get you out. Dont be afraid to use this, they are used to people with anxiety.

I asked questions about the scanner before I went in it. I had a look at it they showed me how far i would need to be in and made me look at this digital bit on the front which shows the centimetres you need to be in the machine. When I laid on the bed we counted the cm's down until I wanted her to stop so could do some breathing exercises before she took me in further.

I found being in control of the situation a great help alongside the support of my mother and the anxiety medication and relaxation techniques before and during my scan.

This is tips on Lumbar spine MRI other areas needing scanning may differ (head first) but these tips may still help some.

This may not help all but just some tips I found helpfull to get me through today. Hope it helps :goodluck1:
As a Public Moderator & Admin of this forum my opinions/views expressed are personal and are no more valid than those of other members and not necessarily those of UKFibromyalgia...Lisa
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Postby perseus » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:39 am


Some good tips there.

I'm glad the experience wasn't too stressful and you are back on the boards.
As a Public Moderator of this forum my opinions/views expressed are personal and are no more valid than those of other members and not necessarily those of UKFibromyalgia. Regards Stephen
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Postby *Lisa* » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:50 pm

Thanks Perseus,

I know how horrifying MRI scans can be for many people and when you google/research info I found not many websites that actualy explain or help people with their fears. I found more negative stories.

I do believe being in control is the main key to being able to complete the proceedure. The staff are too quick to tell you whats going to happen when in turn you need to tell them how its going to happen :-)

Its building up slowly to the scanner to your pace and your limits. Taking your time and not being rushed. Having support at all times.

You can request an MRI in a different hospital if they have a scanner bigger.

I posted this topic as alot of people will not be aware of many of the issues like requesting someone in with you, asking for a bigger scanner etc because on the appointment letter it mainly discusses about anything matalic on/in your body.

Now on a fibro point of view and chronic pain you can ask for pillows/wedges that help comfort. With my anxiety they didnt give me a big pillow under my head because of it putting up the height of my head so a small pillow which gave me a bigger gap between face and top of scanner.

Ask for help on the bed, do not enter until you are comfortable as you need to lay completely still! any slight movements can blurr images so comfort is another issue the staff need to address but again they know that and will help you.

Afterwards do not get off the bed without assistance the staff will automaticly come to your aid and support you slowly off the bed.

I took my pan meds before the scan to help pain and again afterwards. You may flare up for rest of day so if you can, make sure you have nothing else on for rest of day and rest up.
As a Public Moderator & Admin of this forum my opinions/views expressed are personal and are no more valid than those of other members and not necessarily those of UKFibromyalgia...Lisa
Posts: 3905
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:01 pm

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