Tips For Avoiding Feeling Claustrophobic In An MRI Machine

Being sent by your doctor to a medical imaging center for an MRI can be a key step in helping you get diagnosed with whatever is ailing you, thanks to this machine's ability to "see" inside your body. If you commonly feel claustrophobic in tight spaces, it's important to take some steps to avoid feeling this way within the confines of the MRI. While the technician will do his or her best to make you feel comfortable, and you'll also often be able to listen to music to help pass the time, there are a handful of different things that you can do to feel comfortable during the procedure. Here are some tips for overcoming any feelings of claustrophobia.

Learn A Meditation

Meditation has a wide range of benefits, including helping you relax and feel less stress. In the weeks or days leading up to your MRI appointment, it can be advantageous to learn a meditation, which you can do by visiting a meditation center or even following a guided meditation online. The meditation could be something as simple as a scan of your body—start at your toes and relax them, then relax your feet, your ankles and so on as you move up your body. MRIs can last from 15 minutes to well over an hour, so it's a good idea to learn and practice a meditation that takes a while to complete.

Take A Sedative

Many MRI clinics will offer sedatives to those who are anxious about being inside the MRI machine. This sedative is mild and won't put you to sleep, as you'll occasionally need to respond to the requests of the technician, but can help you to feel relaxed. Don't seek out your own sedative in advance; it's better to wait until you get to the clinic so you can take a sedative that the technician has approved.

Rely On A Sleep Mask

If you've used a sleep mask to nap at home when it's still light outside, or relied on this simple device to help you sleep on an airplane, you'll know how effective it can be at blocking out your surroundings. While you won't be wearing a sleep mask during your MRI appointment to help you sleep, it can help with claustrophobia by blocking out the MRI machine around you. Whether you keep your eyes open or closed, the presence of the mask on your face can help you to stay relaxed.