MRI tips ...

Hi all

I’ve got my MRI on Friday afternoon and it’s fair to say I’m already nervous. I’m waking up in the night thinking about it and feel a surge of panic every time it pops into my head.

I’m especially worried because I had a couple of failed attempts about seven or eight years ago, even with Diazepam. Making it a little better this time around is knowing that I’ll be scanned a wide bore machine which has a wider, shorter tunnel. On the other hand I’ve got two hours and twenty minutes of scanning to get through.

I wondered if anyone has any tips to help me get through it please? I’ll have Diazepam again but it didn’t seem to do much last time (until I got back to the car and melted into the seat haha). The GP said to take one or two about half an hour before the scan - is that about right?

Thank you :slight_smile:

Take a CD of your favourite music; they have the facility to let you hear it. As you know; gets noisy in there.

Read Rizzo’s sticky on it,


Thanks George, I’ll have a look at that link now. I reckon I could get an audio book in in that time :slight_smile:

I looked the machine up that I’ll be having my scan in and it does look like I’ll have a bit more breathing room so that has made me feel a little bit better.



Hope all goes well on Friday.

Take Diazepam as it will help and some of your favourite music. As long as it’s not the Beatles and Help!!

First MRI I had early 90’s there was no music , just the loud drilling noise. I kept my eyes closed the whole time and imagined I was on a race track on my motorbike, then riding on a long journey. Kept my mind busy and didn’t seem such a long time but was about 1 1/2 hours.

Jen x

Hi Jen

Thank you - I will definitely avoid that song :slight_smile: I think I’m going to ask for the radio to be on during the scan, I think I’ll prefer that to just music.

Your tip about imagining yourself somewhere else is brilliant, I haven’t got a motorbike but I’m going to imagine myself on a long walk with my dogs on a sunny day.

I cannot wait to have it over with!!


I have regular MRIs, I can absolutely say that in the tube, I am at peace. Yes it clanks a bit, I always wear socks as I get cold feet, I am tucked in and away from the world. It is an unusual experience but I think of it as the only place where no-one can get to me, phone me, bother me, after many MRIs under my belt, I am very relaxed about it. However, I get more panicky about parking beforehand so I get there nearly an hour before, make sure I don’t drink too much beforehand, take a really good book to read and watch what is going on, get my bum parked on the seat at MRI well in advance (once they came out and said ‘oh you are early, do you want to come in now as someone has cancelled’, and all of that is my coping mechanism.

Thing is, you have professionals looking after you, it doesn’t take long, you know why you are there, some results will come out of it, it takes only a few hours of your life to do it.

Sometimes due to back pain and other things, I take a cushion to sit on in the waiting area otherwise, after the MRI and lying down for a while, my back really hurts the next day. The last MRI was on my birthday, they all sang happy birthday MRI to me!

It is like most things, getting your head round it is hardest. Someone I know worked in Africa with women who have nothing, not even sanitary towels, so I try to think of it as a privilege, I remember the days of old when MRIs where not for the likes of us and not all hospitals had them. Now, we get an appointment and all of that technology and investment goes into trying to find out how we tick and what they can do for us.

Another coping skill for me, is that the night before I am sort of getting myself in relaxed mode ready for the next day. I listen to someone called Eckart Tolle on youtube, read nice things, do big breathing and tummy breathing, put something easy on the next day no bras or anything that makes you sweaty getting undressed, some banging tunes on the way there and then people watch at the hospital. Good luck tomorrow. We all have our own worries, my particular fear is being at the back of a big queue (I know sounds daft but if you are 5 foot and a fag end and everyone else is tall, it makes you feel vulnerable, you can’t see anything, you don’t know what’s going on and there is no control). Let us know how you get on.

1 Like

i will just add to the excellent advice you have had already.

take something to put under your knees.

i find it hard to lie flat and keep still but a lovely nurse came over and put one of those foam wedges under my knees.

bliss - i even put a pillow there when i’m in bed.

my husband is a huge hawkwind fan and i have been to see them many times.

i imagined i was at one of their gigs and they were tuning up!

Hello, thank you very much, some brilliant tips.

I especially like your point about reminding myself that I’m very lucky to have access to such things. As you say not everyone does.

This time tomorrow it’ll be over and I’ll be a step closer to finding out what’s been going on.


Thanks Carole - I like the pillow u dear the knees too, so comfy!!

This time tomorrow I’ll hopefully be having a large glass of vino to congratulate myself for being brave :slight_smile:


Good luck. Forgot to say, I always need assistance getting up after, here they are only allowed to roll you onto your side, they are not in the MRI suite allowed to lift you at all. Might be different where you are. Is someone going with you?

Morning :slight_smile:

I’ll be fine getting up etc., I think I’ll need help staying down if anything haha. I’m not feeling too bad this morning, stress levels are much lower than expected. My husband is travelling up from Kent to central London with me but I don’t think I want him to come into the scan room … I think I’ll be stronger on my own, easier to give up if he’s there I think. The hospital isn’t too far from Oxford Street so he can go and buy me something nice while I spend the afternoon in a MRI machine (I can dream!).

Thank you very much x

I think I might be a bit odd. Must admit i’m not even slightly claustrophobic so the thought of going in the machine in the first place didn’t bother me. There was music while the scan was happening…MUCH clanking and banging…but I nearly fell asleep - does that make me peculiar? lolol

Hmmmm … it might make you a bit peculiar but I wouldn’t mind being a bit peculiar too if it helps lol x


Came back to see how you got on today.

Hope it went ok and you’re drinking that large glass of wine you promised yourself.


Hi Jen

I’m really pleased to say it went well … the difference between this machine and the one last time was huge. I did struggle a bit with the length of the scan but the diazepam worked wonders. I was quite relaxed through most if it. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that it’s over!! And yes, definitely having a glass of vino to celebrate that being over this evening :slight_smile:

Thanks for checking back x

Brilliant, well done.


im glad it went well for you - well done :slight_smile:

i have a question as i am due a scan this week. I had an MRI of spine and brain once, it took 90 mins. This time it’s brain and spine again but with the dye, could anyone on this thread tell me if it takes much longer? Thanks

Thanks Emma :slight_smile:

Mine was somewhere between two and two and a half hours, but that was brain, orbits, full spine and with contrast. I lost all concept of time to be honest, but I know I left my husband at half two and got back to him at half five. All I did before the scan was get changed, and afterwards I had the cannula removed and got dressed. The bit after the contrast injection took about twenty minutes I think.

Hope it goes well for you :slight_smile: