If you have claustrophobia, you may have difficulty going through a scan on a traditional MRI scan. Fortunately, you have options. The first step is to schedule your scan at a center that has an open MRI machine. These machines are not fully enclosed and feel more comfortable to many people. In addition, consider the tips in this article.
Inform Your MRI Technician
Let your MRI center know when you make your appointment that you have difficulties with enclosed spaces. Once you arrive, inform your MRI technician. The center and your technician have experience helping people with claustrophobia. They will have techniques to help you get through the test.
Your technician may ask if you’d like earplugs or calming music. He or she may offer you a blanket. Small talk during the preparation also helps to calm your nerves.
Arrive at the imaging center early. Read all instructions carefully, such as directions to stop eating or drinking. If you are rushing through heavy traffic, or find out that you’ve forgotten an important item, your anxiety levels will increase.
Before your scan, practice calming breathing exercises. That way, you are ready to rely on those techniques during the scan. One popular technique is square breathing. In this method, you breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and then hold your breath for four seconds. Repeat as many times as necessary.
Other people find meditation helpful. Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting on a beach. Perhaps ask the center in advance if they can play ocean sounds music during your exam.
The open MRI scanner makes important diagnostic imaging tests possible to many people with claustrophobia. In addition, a professional MRI technician along with calm breathing strategies will make your experience much more comfortable.