First MRI advice?

I have my first MRI scan of brain and spinal cord on Tuesday.

Not sure what to expect, I’m nervous about not being able to tolerate the loud noise of the machine and stay still for so long (my arms go numb after 10 mins of lying still)!

Anyone have any advice for getting through it? :confused:

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I got nervous when I first went into the MRI scanner but just kept thinking this is going to give me answers and gets me one step closer to knowing what’s wrong with me. Which it did.

They give you headphones and play music but you will still hear the noise of the scanner. Talk to the person doing your scan about your worries when you get there.

Hope you get answers.

Snowqueen x

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It’s not that loud, and I speak as someone who generally detests loud noises and finds them hard to tolerate. They will probably give you ear plugs, but even if they don’t, you will be OK.

My suggestion would be to get them to give you a pillow to put below your knees (they will have one if you ask). I find that that pillow makes it ever so much easier to lie still comfortably and not fidget. Lie there and don’t fidget is the only thing you have to do - the machine does all the clever stuff - and it is amazingly clever.

Don’t worry - you’ll be fine.


I was worried about the noise before my first one, but the earplugs damp in down enough for it to not be too much. I found some of the more rhythmic noise sequences to be almost musical, and some made me want to giggle. Young people who have MRIs tend to think it sounds like dubstep which makes me laugh.

I second the leg support! At Grantham they have a foam wedge thing, it was really comfy! Really took the discomfort away from your bum/base of your spine.

I’m sure if you explain to them about the numbness from lying still that they might be able to pause it and give you a moment to stretch and so on. No harm in asking, anyway.

Hmm, I was going to say they’ll stop anyway to give you the contrast injection, but as this is your first MRI maybe you won’t have that, have you been diagnosed? But if you do get the contrast that will give you a few moments to move without worries before they start things up again.

Hi Morrigan,

How did it go today? I hope it went ok.


Thanks guys! I’ll update a bit of my experiences here in case anyone finds themselves in a similar situation to me!

So overall it was perfectly fine!

I was so worried about the noise level and was pleased to see that they were giving me large headphones to listen to the radio on, not the tiny ear bud things I was picturing! The worst part was waiting there for the machine to start up. I started to breathe so quickly with fear. When it did start I was pleasantly surprised that although I could hear the machine it wasn’t loud and didn’t make me jump at all! Even when the tech warned me the next scan would get quite loud I could hear the radio and wasn’t bothered by the noise at all!

I wore sweats and a loose cotton top and made sure I had no metal parts so I got to keep all my clothes on which was great. Some people before me had to wear the dreaded hospital gown lol.

The worst part for me was that me hands went numb after about ten mins and I had another 35 mins to go. I just tried to focus on something else. I kept my eyes open for the whole thing, looking into the mirror in the helmet right at my shoes. When I thought the scanner was between scans (when there was no noise or the bed was sliding in or out quickly) I twitched or moved my hand to try to get the blood flow back.

Honestly it was kind of almost fun to get the spine MRI because I kept getting slid in and out by the machine. I guess I’m easily amused lol.

Most unexpected part was the vibrating the machine started doing at one stage. Felt like it was shaking the fluid in my brain around or something haha! Unexpected but completely fine.

Best part was the hospital I went to gave me a CD with all the pictures and films to keep and bring home! So I’ve had great fun looking at my brain and spine and I almost feel like even if I get no answers it was worth it just to get that! :slight_smile:

So to anybody scared of getting an MRI like I was please don’t be! You will be fine just like I was, and this is coming from someone who cries at the noise of a balloon popping! You’ve got this! :slight_smile:

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I’m interested about the headphones, at Grantham their budget clearly doesn’t stretch that far, lol, we get foam barrel earplugs. But what I’m wanting to know is how do they hold your head still if you have big headphones on? They’ve used wedges of foam on me, one poked down either side of your head.

The shaking makes me giggle too! You know I forgot to mention those pauses between “tracks”. They do give you that brief chance to shift a little, don’t they. I dressed metal free for my full scan, but I didn’t get to escape the gown, bah! lol. I did get to keep my underwear on though.

Really glad it all went well though :smiley: