As my body entered the MRI coffin I couldn’t catch my breath and yelled for the technician to “get me out of here.”
I’ve never considered myself to be claustrophobic. In fact, I didn’t even check that box on the survey before the MRI. I even drove myself to the hospital and chose not to take the Valium.
I had to talk myself back into the machine that day.
I didn’t drive all the way here to go home. I need these thyroid test results to check the mass they found.
And so I took a deep breath and went back in. The loud sounds of the vibrating metal coils surrounding me made me feel alone and isolated.
Thankfully, I made it through and my results were negative. I didn’t have thyroid cancer.
Recently, I needed another MRI. I’ve been having excruciating pain in my neck, shoulder, and arm and suspected a pinched nerve. This time, I knew what to expect. I knew I needed to mentally prepare myself.
I reached out to friends and family and requested prayer and asked if they knew any calming techniques to help me relax.
Taking these steps helped me get through the scan. I hope that they will help you too
Here are 10 tips to help you relax during your MRI
1. If you are not sure how you will do in the MRI, then err on the safe side and accept the Valium prescription they offer you. It will help relax your muscles. You will take the pill an hour before the procedure. You will need to find someone to drive you. Even with the Valium, I still had anxiety and needed to apply the next steps in order to get through it.
2. Have a loved one drive you for support. Take time to pray before your test and give your fears to the Lord.
3. You don’t need to fast, so make sure you bring a water bottle. My MRI test was done outside in a mobile unit. When I was about to go in the tube my mouth felt like cotton and I asked for water. But it was too late. There was no water available.
4. Don’t look! Have them put a towel over your eyes! Keep your eyes closed the entire time. When I looked the first time and saw how confined I was, I panicked. When I kept the towel over my eyes and made sure not to look the second time around, I did much better.
5. Ask if they have earphones and if you can listen to music! This gave me such peace. I was able to listen to Christian music as I entered the machine. When the images are being taken, you will not be able to hear the music. Some of the images will take 7 minutes. They will go in increments. When the set is done, there will be a short break and the technician will ask how you are doing and if you want to continue. She will tell you that you have just finished a set and how long the next session will be. She’ll say something like this, “You’re doing well, you have 10 minutes left and the next set of images will take 7 minutes.” She will be able to hear you when the images aren’t being taken. You will have a button to press that will signal her to stop all testing should you feel the need to stop and get out.
6. You need something to occupy your mind while the images are being taken and you can’t hear the music. My friend, Deb Wolf at CountingYour Blessings.com, suggested going through the alphabet and naming the attributes of God. I will never forget praising Jesus in my panic. As I listed the attributes of God I was amazed how this calmed my fears and settled my anxious heart. In fact, I only got to the letter O!
7. Recite Psalm 23
8. My friend Melanie Redd at Ministry of Hope gave me the idea to go through the alphabet and pray for people you know. What a great tip!
9. And I loved this advice from my friend Kimberly, “Just think of the MRI machine as your friend…a good thing…it’s cozy and warm in there and it’s going to help them figure out what’s wrong.”
10. Take a nap if you can. Relax. Let the sounds of the scanner relax you instead of stress you.
And soon the technician will say, “You’re almost done. Only one set of images left.”
Remember when you enter the scan that Jesus is right there with you.
You can't go anywhere to escape God's presence. Not even in an MRI! Click To Tweet
His hand will guide you and his strength will support you!
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there, if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. Psalm 139:7-19 NLT
I hope these techniques will help prepare you for that next MRI.
What tips and suggestions can you add to this list in order to help someone out?
Hi Valerie, I’m so glad your ok and turned out well for you! I’m about the biggest worry wart you will know and my anxiety is currently through the roof as I’m awaiting an mri of the brain and c-spine due to tingling and pain in my head, neck, shoulders and it even radiates down my arms! I was in the ER and all my tests came back normal (ct of the brain, xrays and labs) but still I have this pain and dr thinks it’s a pinched nerve. I’m praying that’s all it is as the ct scan would have showed something bad if it was there, but I still can’t shake that fear of something horribly wrong! Please pray for me that I’m ok and that they figure out what’s wrong so I can be back to normal! I feel like I can’t even be a good mom because I always feel scared and in pain! Thank you for this post as it really has helped me!
Thank you for reaching out Rebecca. I know our minds often go to the worst-case scenerio and it can be difficult to deal with the anxiety about the unknown. I’m glad the ER tests came back normal. I ended up having a pinched nerve once accompanied by severe back pain and my right arm would go numb. I ended up getting traction at the chiropractor that relieved the pressure on the nerve. I’m praying for you and that it’s nothing serious. Dear Lord, please help Rebecca as she waits for her MRI and help calm her nerves and anxiety about the symptoms she’s having. Comfort her with the truth that you are with her at all times. You will take care of her. You will give her strength and peace of mind. Lord we pray that the doctors would figure out what’s causing her pain and that she will be able to find relief. Thank you for hearing our prayers. May your Holy Spirit calm her anxious thoughts and may she find rest in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
I didn’t realize you could listen to music as you entered an MRI machine but it sounds like a great idea to calm the nerves. It’s helpful to know that you can bring music that allows you to feel peace as you go through the experience of an MRI machine. Also, it’s comforting to know that you can communicate when you feel the need to stop the MRI testing process should you need to.
These are great tips.
I run a mri service in texas and use most of these relaxing tips as a guideline for my patients.
Valerie- I love these tips! I’ve already thought that I don’t ever want to be put in a MRI machine because I’m afraid my anxiety would come alive!
These tips are so helpful!
These are great tips, Valerie. I’ve never had an MRI before, but I’ve had a CATScan. It seems that whenever someone tells me to stay still, I have this desperate need to move! Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth.
I love these tips. Having spent my fair share of time in those lovely tubes, I relate to this. This is when it comes in real handy to have memorized chapters of the Bible. 🙂 I go through the ones I know, very slowly, and time goes by much quicker and with much more peace. (Granted, I probably miss most of the words since I’m a little anxious, but God works through my heart more than my brain at times. ha)
So sorry you are so acquainted with these lovely tubes! I’m glad that memorizing God’s word helped get you through! That’s a great reminder that we should be hiding God’s word in our hearts for times like these. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!
Oh wow! What great tips Valerie! Me and the MRI machine are not friends at all! Since the stroke, i have become more familiar than I’d like too with this machine. I have hit the panic button on several occasions to get out of there. Ii love the tips..quoting Psalm 23 definitely works for me. Also, you might ask if you can get an “open” MRI.. You do not go into a cylinder. My mother was able to hold my hand during the entire process. Just being able to hear here voice was a calming influence.
P.S. Thank you for visiting my site last week…I just found your comment in my SPAM:) May God give you healing from your ailments and return you to complete health. You are on my prayer list! Blessings to you and yours!
Hi Horace! Oh man, those MRI scans are no fun! Thank you for the tip to ask if you can get an open one. That’s a good suggestion for when you are making the appointment! Thank you for including me on your prayer list too. I’m praying for you as well!
I had to have a few MRIs over the last couple years and will probably have another one soon as long as we can get insurance straightened out! MRIs can be really nerve racking, but I prayed and said Bible verses to calm myself. It worked! My favorite was Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” It’s a great one when you have to lay still and are worrying about fighting for your health!
That’s a great verse to remember Tara! Thank you so much for sharing it here. I hope you can get the approval for your MRI and that it goes well for you. God bless you!
Great tips. This way many women will not shy away from the procedure.
Thank you Matilda!
Those are some really great tips! I’ve never had an MRI, and I’m claustrophobic. So if I ever need one, I will remember this for sure!
Maybe having one of these soon for migraines. thanks for sharing
I hope these tips help! Thank you for visiting!
My son had to have one; thankfully the hospital was prepared for children and MRI’s and they had special glasses available that played a kids movie for him to watch (Finding Nemo I think) and I was able to go in the room with him and hold his hand. The whole time I kept thinking I would not have been able to do what he was doing. I am claustrophobic.
I’m so glad they provided a movie. I didn’t know what they did for children. Sometimes I think our fears get worse with age…and we need God to have childlike faith and trust!
This is great advice… It can be so stressful, partly because it is searching for a health issue, and you are alone. It’s a good reminder that we aren’t every really alone. Thanks for being honest about your experience.
Great tips, I would never have thought about most of those!
Thanks for stopping by
Great tips you never know who could need this! I love that you put reciting scripture as well. How comforting is his word!
Thanks for tips. What a great post idea. These ideas would work great for any waiting period we had to go through at a doctor. I have not had an NOT but as soon as I saw that picture and started reading this, I felt panicky. Yikes! I hope you are feeling better. Thanks for sharing in our Seeking God Community. I appreciate you sharing posts there.
That Spell check fixer. I meant I have not had an MRI. That makes more sense than a NOT. Thanks again. Have a great week.
Thank you for commenting! Yes, the picture says it all! God bless you!
Great tips for anyone getting medical tests. Being prepared helps so much. I’m so glad these tips helped you. I’m sharing this everywhere and encouraging people to share it with anyone having tests.
Deb, your tips of praying through the attributes of God…really helped take my mind off of the confined space and sounds and think about Jesus! Thank you so much!
Great and practical advice, Valerie!
Love the tips! Thanks for including me!
I haven’t had an MRI, but I think I would have a hard time.
Sharing this all around~
Thanks for the tip Melanie! I think it will help a lot of people. If you ever need an MRI try these tips out…they worked for me!
My goodness, you’ve been doing some blog renovation up in here, gal! It looks fantastic! Whoever did it did a great job!!!
I’ve been praying for you, Valerie. How are you doing? It looks like you’re still getting some blogging done! These are GREAT tips. I’ve had two MRI’s and I can honestly say I took a nap (after praying for everyone I knew)!!! But the beeps are so annoying. Mine were both outside too.
Have a great weekend, Val, and I hope you’re feeling some relief! Caught you over on Grace and Truth but also pinned this from our mastermind group this morning and I thought “What a great idea for a blog post and what a good graphic that is!!!”
Hi, Ruthie! Alison did my logo at http://www.lifeofscoop.com!
Thank you for your prayers. I’m recovering and seeing some progress!
Have a great weekend!
Valerie, I was thinking about you yesterday. What a happy coincidence that you posted today. How are you doing? Have you received the results yet?
Those are great tips! I have an MRI every other year. I know that I am claustrophobic so I willingly take the pill. I also try to say the rosary, the repetition calms me. I must admit, it is more like a chain of Hail Marys since is can’t move to keep count.
God bless and heal you.
Thank you so much for thinking of me Cindy! The results showed bulging discs in my neck causing the disc to press on my nerves. I’m hoping to relieve the swelling and pinched nerve through icing, physical therapy, and traction. I’m seeing some progress, so I”m hopeful! I sure do appreciate your thoughts! God bless you!
Oh girl, you and I with our fears, this for me was a big one too. I remember having to have an MRI and I took one look at that tunnel and I said no way….but like you, I put my big girl pants on and got through it. I recited very piece of scripture I could recall and prayed, prayed like my life depended on it. I hope I never have to have one of those again – EVER! I hope you get good results. Been thinking about you.
Lol, I know Michelle! I didn’t expect it to be that hard the first time and so I knew I needed to prepare the second time around! Sometimes we have to put our big girl pants on and just do it!