Tips to Combat Anxiety Before and During an MRI

The standard MRI is notorious for creating a sense of anxiety in patients of all ages. Sensitive patients have trouble completing MRI exams, especially because the exam usually takes place inside a small, condensed space.

The magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI) scan is used to develop images of organs and tissues in the human body. Medical professionals use MRI to check on tumors and cysts, injuries in the joints, diseases in the liver and abdominal organs, or anomalies of the brain or spinal cord. An MRI scan uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create a detailed, cross-sectional image of internal organs, soft tissue, and structures. More specifically, it can reveal a patient’s normal tissue as well as tissue abnormalities.

Before arriving at an MRI screening, patients can try these simple tips to help combat anxiety brought on by an MRI.

Talk through the scan with your doctor.

Often times, talking through your condition or your future scan with a medical professional is the best way to relax your nerves. Your doctor can provide a more in-depth explanation of your procedure as well as calming solutions tailored to your needs.

Bring a companion.

Whether you bring a loved one or a therapeutic item to console, try finding comfort in a companion before and during your scan. Ask the staff at your scheduled diagnostic imaging location if a guest is allowed in during your scan. If so, they will be able to sit nearby and keep you company during examination.

Practice steady breathing.

Many MRI patients report feelings of claustrophobia or tightness in the chest during screenings. In order to combat these anxious symptoms, professionals suggest maintaining steady breaths throughout the scan. In fact, research has shown mindfulness helps reduce anxiety by teaching one to respond to stress with awareness and steady breathing. Practice slower, more controlled breathing patterns before your scan by listening to mindfulness teachings or meditating. That way, you will know how to stay focused on your respiration throughout the MRI experience.

Ask for music to be played.

Some diagnostic imaging facilities will allow technicians to play music for patients during an MRI exam. Patients will want to take advantage of a musical distraction if the MRI machine is loud while in operation or if the patient just wants to ease his or her mind. Additionally, patients report feeling more comfortable during the scan when familiar tunes are playing.

Count to yourself.

A simple technique to help alleviate MRI anxiety is to count. Count to ten, twenty, or even one hundred to help pass the time. Patients find they are distracted by this task and the overall exam seems quicker.

Most importantly, patients need to remember that they are in control of their exam. They can choose to work with trusted technicians, like those at Windsor Imaging, to conduct a safe and easy MRI. The experienced team at Windsor Imaging is skilled in conducting MRI as well as other imaging services, like ultrasounds (Fort Pierce location), X-Rays, and mammography (Fort Pierce location). For more information, contact Windsor Imaging today.

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