Claustrophobic? Questions to Ask When Booking an MRI Scan to Help Ease Claustrophobia
An MRI scan can be used to diagnose a variety of issues. If you are experiencing headaches, shoulder pain, back pain, or leg issues, a doctor may order an MRI to look in your body and see what is causing your pain and problems. While MRIs can be quite useful, those who suffer from claustrophobia may struggle to make it through the scan, as the machines can feel like you are in a tight and enclosed space. If you are claustrophobic and need an MRI, here are a few questions to ask the imaging center scheduling your appointment to ensure you can make it through your scan without anxiety and fear.
Do You Have Wide MRI Machines?
MRI machines come in different widths. If you are claustrophobic, you want to try to find an imaging center that offers wide-bore MRI machines. This type of machine is ideal for those who may be overweight, as well as those who are claustrophobic and need a little extra space to breathe.
Do You Have Open-Ended MRI Machines?
Older MRI machines have an opening at the bottom of the machine where you are slid into but are closed at the top. As such, those who are claustrophobic struggle as they cannot see out of the machine. Newer models of MRI machines are open-ended on both sides. This allows you to look out the top of the machine as you are lay flat on your back, which may help you to feel less claustrophobic.
Do You Offer Comfort Items During an MRI?
Imaging centers try to help patients feel as comfortable as possible during an MRI. As such, they may offer many different things, including blankets, wedge pillows under your legs, or a music system. Staying comfortable can help to take your mind off of the fact you are in an MRI machine, which may help to ease some of your claustrophobia.
Do You Offer Sedation?
The final question you may wish to ask when scheduling an appointment for an MRI scan is whether they offer sedation. Some people simply need mild to moderate sedation to get through an MRI. Ask an imaging center what sedatives they have available to help you if you are having an MRI scan.
MRI machines can be tight and it is easy to get claustrophobic. Thankfully, MRI machines are changing and some imaging centers offer new machines that may be wider or open-ended, helping to make it less anxiety-inducing to have a scan. There are also other options available, including sedation and music, to help. Ask your imaging center how they can help you make it through your MRI scan if you suffer from claustrophobia.