How to Deal with Claustrophobia in an MRI 

Knowledge is a powerful tool for patients who experience anxiety and claustrophobia during an MRI test. The reason doctors order MRI tests is because they need images inside of the body to analyze and treat conditions appropriately. These images are essential to an individual’s health.

What is Claustrophobia?

Claustrophobia comes from the Latin word claustrum, meaning “a closed-in place.” During the MRI process, patients must stay still inside a closed-in machine until the imaging is complete. The process often makes the patient feel like they are trapped with something putting pressure on their chest. However, with new technology, there are different options available for patients to choose from, so they will have a better chance of completing the MRI exam. 

5 Tips to Beat and Reduce MRI Claustrophobia

Alliance MRI acknowledges that MRI claustrophobia is still an issue for existing and future patients. Here is a list of tips on how to beat and reduce that MRI claustrophobia and test anxiety:

1. Talk to your Tech

Our techs are highly experienced and knowledgeable, so you are not alone in this process. You can talk to them, or they can speak to you during the MRI exam. And remember, there is a button to press in the case of an emergency.

2. Go to a Happy Place 

As silly as it sounds, focusing your mind on “a happy place” or happy memory, can relax the mind and ease anxiety, making time fly and distracting you from the MRI process. Focusing your attention to your breathing is a powerful way to calm the body and mind.

3. Listen to Music 

Music has soothing effects on the mind. The sound of the music can help distract and calm you from claustrophobia anxiety. Pick an album or playlist with your favorite music to prepare for the scan. We recommend Lo-Fi Hip-Hop Beats for a relaxing background noise.

4. Bring a Family Member or a Friend to Support 

Unlike other types of imaging, MRI scans do not emit radiation. Therefore, a family member or a friend can remain with you in the room to support you through the process.

5. Learn about the MRI process 

Ask your tech questions on what happens during the MRI exam. Familiarize yourself with the machine and its noise. Having knowledge of the process can provide peace of mind during the MRI test and help you get from start to finish.

Open MRI for Claustrophobic Patients

Another option available to accommodate claustrophobic patients is the open MRI. An open MRI gives a more relaxed, less intimidating environment and lowers the noise level. This makes the test less stressful for patients. One of the primary purposes of an open MRI is to provide a more comfortable setting for patients by operating at a lower power magnet. However, there are some exceptions where a closed MRI is necessary to identify issues such as tumors, strokes, and liver diseases.

About Alliance MRI for Claustrophobic Patients

MRI claustrophobia is common with many patients. That’s where Alliance MRI’s experienced technologists come in, they will walk you through the process step by step. Be sure to look at our current accepted insurance page and contact your provider to see if an MRI image is covered. Learn more about MRIs and other imaging services with the expert team of technicians and doctors at Alliance MRI, and contact our team today to schedule an appointment at the location nearest you!