MRI 101: 4 Helpful Tips For Reducing Feelings Of Claustrophobia

Posted on: 8 May 2017

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is a handy tool that allows doctors to see inside the body. It is very helpful for detecting a number of diseases. Unfortunately, MRI machines are often closed in. This can make people feel trapped – and may even induce feelings of claustrophobia. Luckily, you can make going through an MRI scan feel more pleasant by implementing these four tips:

1. Utilize Aromatherapy

One helpful tip is to use the power of aromatherapy to help you relax during the MRI. Ask your doctor if they offer scented pillows or blankets. If they don't, ask if you can bring along some essential oils. Oftentimes, doctors will allow you to apply a small amount of essential oil to a pillow or blanket to help you relax. Lavender is usually a good choice, as it is naturally relaxing. However, other smells that you find soothing will work as well.

2. Ask About An Open MRI

If you feel like you truly need more space to feel comfortable, consider an open MRI. Unlike traditional MRI machines, the open MRI machine is not entirely closed in. Oftentimes, the patient can even see around the room with ease. This makes people a lot more comfortable, as they do not feel claustrophobic. So if you're truly anxious, ask your doctor about an open MRI. If they do not have one at their hospital, they might have access to one at another facility.

3. Listen To Music

Another helpful tip is to listen to music during the MRI. Music can help calm you. It can also help you take your mind off the fact that you're in an MRI machine. Most hospitals and medical centers can play music in the MRI room. So just ask. If you want to listen to something particular, such as a favorite radio station, let the staff know. If you would prefer to listen to soothing sounds, such as rain or whale noises, let the staff know. They might be able to plug in an MP3 player and play music from your own playlists.

4. Ask To Lay Comfortably

Finally, don't be afraid to ask the staff if you can lay in a more comfortable position. Depending on the area being imaged, you might be able to lay on your stomach. You might also be able to go in feet first, which will provide you with a better view of the room – and that alone can make you feel less confined.

Undergoing an MRI scan might make you anxious. However, it's likely a necessary part of your diagnosis. These tips, an understanding doctor, and medications can all help you get through the process easily.