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vibration in MRI

Hi everybody, Hope everyone is as well as they can be. Just an enquiry. I had my fourth MRI last week and it was horrible not for all the obvious reasons but because midway through my whole body particularly the top half was literally shaking. The whole machine seemed to be vibrating. I was tempted to press the buzzer because I thought the scanner was malfunctioning. Added to this a couple of the sounds really hurt my left ear. Neither of these things have happened before. It just didn’t feel right from my limited experience. Nothing was said when I finally re emerged after a very long forty minutes. I thought I’d got the self calming down to a fine art but all this made it SO difficult. Should I have said something? I’m still waiting for the results. Tx

Hi, Did you by any chance have a scan of a different part of the body to the previous occasions? I’ve always thought of it as very noisy and “vibraty”, but I think not so much when I had brain only. When I had full spinal column right down to the hips, definitely a vibrating sensation, even to the point I could sense which bit of me it was doing. And much more of you is in the tube, so the sensation is stronger. when I had brain only, they only put me far enough in to do my head, the rest of me was left outside. You should have been give earplugs or headphones to protect your ears from the noise! So it might have been worth complaining if they didn’t do that. But I don’t think it’s indicative that the scanner’s malfunctioning. The very fact you’re meant to have ear defenders means it’s normal for the damn thing to be deafening. I’ve never heard of a quiet MRI. One memorable description was: “Like being buried alive with a dancefloor on top of you!” So I don’t think you’ve experienced anything weird. Tina

I found the MRI scanner very noisy but I put myself in a mediative state and enjoyed it. They did give me headphones and I felt nothing intrusive. M

Thanks for your responses. No, it was head and neck as before and I had earphones on as before, hence my concern. Tx

Hi, I have had heaps of MRIs on my neck due to a spinal cord injury I have as well as having MS. The cervical spine MRI always makes lots of vibration. So much so that my upper body will be jerking around with it. Nothing unusual there and some of the sequences in the spinal part are incredibly loud. Makes me actually jump a little bit at the sudden BANG, BANG, BANG sequence. And yes, I have earphones on playing music and there are times I can’t hear the music at all. Sounds like a pretty typical cervical spine MRI> So don’t worry… :slight_smile: Belinda

And now for the sciencey answer :slight_smile: MRI scanners can be set to do different things, but all of them involve sending radio waves through the magnetic field that the big circular magnet generates (and that you lie in the middle of). The radio waves are what cause all that noise. They are also what cause the movement of the bed you lie on. If you have ever been to a big concert and stood in front of a speaker, you will remember that you can actually feel the sound waves. And the louder the music, the more powerful the waves so that things nearby vibrate and move. There are a couple of things that influence how noticeable the vibrations in a scanner are. One is the way the radio waves have been set to travel: so noise and vibrations are stronger for some scans than others. The other is the strength of the scanner (which is basically a more powerful speaker using the previous analogy): so the different vibrations & noise levels for different scans still applies, but everything is louder and stronger too. If you pay attention when you’re in a scanner, you can feel the vibrations coming from different directions for different scans. This is because the radio waves are coming from different directions. Pretty cool really :slight_smile: OK, maybe I’m biased :slight_smile: Anyway, the upshot is that there is nothing to worry about when you feel even pretty strong vibrations in a scanner. With any luck it’ll mean that they are using a stronger scanner so you’ll get much better scans. Hth. Karen x

Thanks again Rizzo, Belinda, makes a great deal of sense and I feel reassured. Thanks for taking the time and energy to explain. peace and sunshine Trudie x