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linds

MRI Claustrophobia

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linds

Was talking with a woman in Out Patients about claustraphobia and MRI and she told me that she had had an open scan and it was really good. Anyone know about this.


Lindsx

 

 

 

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Vegged Out
Shirl

I have known people have open MRI scans for skeletal issues but have no idea if they are used for neurological scanning. I believe they are usually available in privately funded hospitals. Someone will correct me I'm sure!



Shirley  "one day at a time"

 

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Lindyloo

Hi Linds

 

How r u good to see you back on the forum.... I dont know about open MRI scanners...sorry...

But my own experience i was ever so worried about having it done as i hate confined spaces eg lifts etc..

Its not that bad and you can see out and now i hear they play lovely music... also they do offer mild sedation for people who would feel panicky - and believe me lots of people do... I took mild sedation and it was over in a few minutes.... honestly its ok..

 

BIg hugs honey xx


LindyLoo xx

" This moment will pass " (Bono U2)

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Mikey

Hello All,

 

In response to the subject of MRI Claustrophobia, I know people who actually enjoy having an MRI in spite of the noise. It makes them feel calm and serene like back in the womb. Nothing to do or think about except keeping still. Apparently it can be relaxing and soothing experience for some people. Not for me though.

 

MRIs can be a problem for some of us. I didn't mentally prepare myself for my first (and only) one because I didn't know how badly I suffered from that type of claustrophobia. I was really surprised that my phobia was that strong.

 

If anyone facing the machine (especially the older models that are less open than the more modern ones) for a first time feels they may have a problem such as claustrophobia they might be comforted by what I found out afterwards. Here's what I now think will help, followed by some useful links.

 

1/ Remember that the procedure is completely painless and completely safe. No moving parts of the machine ever touch you, or are even visible. The only inconvenience is that it makes quite a lot of noise. This is normal.

 

2/ Remember you are in one of the safest places on earth... it's usually a hospital!

 

3/ Remember that you are not really in an enclosed space even though it may feel that way. The "tunnel" is open at both ends and you will be given the possibility of stopping at any time by way of a button in your hand.

 

4/ Practice at home first. Make a tunnel of cardboard about as long as your body and with a diameter slightly larger than the width of your shoulders. Lie on your back on the floor. When your head is in it, the side of the tunnel will only be a few inches above your eyes which is what causes a totally illogical claustrophobic feeling in some people (but phobias are always illogical, aren't they?). Put on some nice relaxing music and lie on your back. Have someone very slowly push the tunnel over you, roughly simulating the experience you will have in the real MRI. The more you get used to this feeling, the better. It's easier in the comfort of your own home. Do this often and after each time reward yourself with something you really like (chocolate? a glass of wine? s*x?). This reinforces the positive experience and is a standard CBT approach to many things.

 

5/ If you can, take a sedative (preferably under medical supervision) before going for the real MRI. Practice calming, rhythmic, deep breathing before the MRI scan.

 

6/ Use a cloth blindfold if allowed. (no metal!)

 

7/ Go with a friend or family. Part of you is always out of the "tunnel" and it is comforting to have their hand on your leg or foot as you are scanned.

 

8/ Some people find it easier to go in feet first. Ask the technician if this is possible in your case although it's usually not for head and upper body scans.

 

9/ Remember that it gets easier as time goes on. I know someone who couldn't do it the first time but now has them several times a year without any claustrophobia problems at all. Even finds it enjoyable.

 

Links that can help:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/4...a_mri_when.html

http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index...21182121AAQp6Zu

http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2007-02-...riclaustrophobia

http://www.newmri.com/html/claustrophobia.asp

http://www.imageonemri.ca/trellis/Claustrophobia

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/AnxietySuppo...ssages/279.html

http://www.stjohns.org/about/news/2005/ MRI...ustrophobia.htm

http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/inter...ustrophobia.cfm

http://www.scansound.com/flash/index.html

http://www.scansound.com/products.htm#MRIHeadphone

http://www.uprightmri.co.uk/

 

Mikey

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Michelle

Thanks Mikey!

 

The best scan that I had was at our leading hospital in Cardiff. It's came supplied with a mirror, so that you coud see everything that was going on in the room. As I have had several mri's over the course of 3 years I wasn't that nosey, and preferred to relax whilst I had the chance. I do feel for those of you who have problems with enclosed spaces. It must be very scary.

 

Michelle :newhere:

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Vegged Out
Shirl

This is a really helpful article so I am moving it to the Symptoms and Diagnosis section. Also pinning it so that readers can find it quickly when needed. Thanks Mikey!



Shirley  "one day at a time"

 

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Crappy
Marina

Sorry, Shirl! I'm going to move it back to the MS Discussion area so that people can reply as the "Symptoms and Diagnosis" section is a "Read Only" one with no replies. What I'll do is to copy Mikey's post and pin it to Symptoms and Diagnosis section :flowerface:


Marina

(belated DX in June '05, SPMS)

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Vegged Out
Shirl

That's great - wasn't sure - just goes to show Mods are only human!



Shirley  "one day at a time"

 

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Hezza

Thanks Mikey - I'm sure that this will be really helpful for those members who find the whole experience daunting and frightening.

mish62 The best scan that I had was at our leading hospital in Cardiff. It's came supplied with a mirror, so that you coud see everything that was going on in the room.

My first MRI came with a mirror - it was only a brain scan so I think they could do the mirror because they don't put you so far into the machine. I had my 2nd one which was spinal in the same hospital and there was no mirror that time. I have to say for me the mirror was the one thing that made me start to freak out slightly - I was happily chilling with my eyes shut listening to the music and happened to open my eyes and see that the person performing the scan had been joined by a consultant who was looking at the screens. Well of course my first reaction was "Oh bugger what's wrong?".

 

One of the ways that I like to think of MRIs to help me see them more positively is that they are a genuine opportunity to totally relax. How often these days do any of us actually have 30 - 60 minutes where we just have to lie down and relax? In the MRI scanner you have no choice but to do just this.


Life is short. Eat dessert first. Jacques Torres

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toby

Ive only ever had one mri and found that i felt quite confined. Dont suffer with claustrophobia but i can see why people can be nervous.

 

I just remember trying to think of songs to hum to myself in-time with the banging.

 

Good luck

 

Toby x

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Lindyloo

Wow Mikey :flowerface:

 

What fab infomation.... Seriously .... I wish i had read this 8 yrs ago... I will print this off and keep it ...I have to say i was really petrified of it all ... thats why i opted for having to take a valium...

And everything you say is so right... and it was not too bad in the end... Conor kept his hand on me the whole time...

Your thread will be very reassuring for anyone who has never had an MRI.. and for anyone nervous about having another one... I think alot of my nervousness came from I did not know what to expect...."The fear of the unknown"

 

Thanks Mikey

 


LindyLoo xx

" This moment will pass " (Bono U2)

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linds

Thanks everyone. This is so helpful. Lindsx

 

Hi Lindy Loo,

It's nice to be back thankyou. Had eye probs so have been off computer.


Lindsx

 

 

 

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Mikey

I think it's worth remembering that phobias like MRI Claustrophobia never make logical sense. There is no factual reason for them which is why they are classified as phobias and not as fears. It's said that everyone has a phobia but many people are lucky enough never to find theirs. I know very brave people who wouldn't hesitate to put themselves in harm's way or look a loaded gun right down the barrel. But show them a harmless common house spider and they freeze in fear.

 

The most common phobia is Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) but Acrophobia, Socialphobia, Aerophobia and Claustrophobia are very common too.

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Lizzie

I was claustrophic and the nurse gave me a vallium before going for the MRI scan. I just couldn't relax and was surprised that any of the scans were ok. Enclosed spaces are horrible to me. I had root canal dental work done once and didn't have a problem with that at all, except for the cloth that was put over my mouth. I tried, I really did but eventually had to stop him and he ended up doing the root canal without the cloth.

 

I have too many phobias. Fear of heights so what do I do? Move to the top of a mountain ridge where there are lookouts to the valleys very far below. Fear of spiders, again move to the top of a mountain ridge where there are loads of spiders. Oh well, I've been learning to deal with that. Never go near the edge of lookouts, even when there is a barrier. Catch and take the spiders outside (don't like killing things), even the big hairy ones. I have special non-see through containers for them otherwise I wouldn't be able to carry the container if I could see them inside.

 

Rambling Lizzie


Lizzie

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Mikey

Hello Lizzie,

 

Your fear of spiders and heights are almost "normal". Arachnophobia, claustrophobia and acrophobia are among the most common phobias. Almost everyone has at least one of them to some degree, however small. CBT can help a lot with phobias.

 

You can be proud of yourself for being able to go through with the MRI. I chickened out and the scan wasn't completed. Good for you!

 

Practice at home as detailed above before the next time. I'm told by a claustrophobic MSer friend (she's in Australia visiting her family at the moment) that it gets easier each time.

 

Mikey

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LittleBlue

When people say about mild sedation, is it a tablet or injection? How 'aware' are you or is it just a relaxant?

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Lurking
PaulX

I actually like MRI scans. It is one time where I seem to be able to switch off and do nothing. I was lucky enough to have one recently, but this was followed by an MRI scan with stress test, which was not relaxing.

 

As regards Open MRI scanners, I believe I have read that the are not as effective as the normal type. Effective enough I would guess for what they are used for, but still not as "good" as a full tuber scanner.


We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,

Running over the same old ground.

What have we found?

The same old fears.

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Sleepy
Scully

Hello.

 

The mild sedation is just a tablet to make you drowsy and relaxed.

 

I too quite like MRI'S despite the noise and the last one being just over an hour, I actually dropped off to sleep, only woken when the operator pulled me out as I hadn't answered their questions !

 

Scully

 


They are not brain lesions..........they are just bright ideas

 

"The truth is out there"

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Evs

I've had four - the first two were great as I was made comfortable before going in. The third one, they didn't give me a knee support so was lying flat on my back for nearly an hour. Also the "cage" bit was positioned so that it sat uncomfortably on my chest. I never thought I was claustrophobic, but started feeling it halfway through that third scan. I was also in a lot of pain getting up after, due to the position.

 

My last scan my GP gave me Valium and it was a much better experience. I made sure I was comfortable going in and was so relaxed I hardly comprehended them injecting me 40 minutes in.

 

I'd definitely recommend Valium for anyone with concerns, but also make sure they make you comfortable going in. Like others have said, then it's a quite relaxing and restful experience.

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