We know what you can put in your body. Let's talk about what you can do in your head. This tried and true technique can calm things down and take the anxiety out of getting an MRI.
Relaxation and stress relief techniques are frequently used with other other therapeutic approaches. But they often can be enough to relieve the stress of a MRI exam by themsleves. And the best part is they are free and you don't have to mess with the chemestry in your body.
A good relaxation technique can simply be the way in which you control your breathing. When the time comes during your MRI that you start to feel a little stressed, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to breath in while counting in your head until you reach 10. Then do the same thing while you're breathing out making all the way to ten. If you've accomplished that, then work on counting slower and slower each time, slowing down your breathing as much as you can.
Another well known relaxation technique is through guided mental imager. This one's fun. Imagine a favorite beach or some soothing time in your life. Then spend time really trying to imagine every detail of that place. It helps sometimes to go into the MRI proceedure already knowing a place you will imagine so you don't stress trying to think of one. The more time you spend in your head picturing this soothing place, the more time you won't be thinking about the machine or the room you're actually in.
Did you know you can listen to music during your MRI? Most places, in fact, offer headsets with a variety of music to listen to for you. Call ahead and see if that's available. For some, Johann Pachelbel's tranquil Canon in D may be the ticket to calm the nerves and sooth the mind. For others, a guitar-thrashing, bass beat driving punk album might be what is loud enought to just drown out any other bad thoughts. It's up to you.
With all of these techniques you will want to stay as still as possible to get the best imagry you can with the MRI. You certainly wouldn't want to go through all this only to have blurry pictures and have to do it all over again.
Talk with your radiologist doing the proceedure. He or she should be an expert in dealing with anxiety and they will have ways in which they can certainly help you throughout the process.
So your doctor ordered an MRI for you. Feeling claustrophobic already? Maybe more than a little nervous? There are many things you can do before the actual exam to relieve your anxiety.
We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
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