How to Relax Before Your MRI Test

Medical tests are scary. There is no other way to say it. The concerns of what will happen, the side effects of the procedure and the results that you may hear all add up to what can be a terrifying experience. The best thing you can do before tests is try to relax. You do not want to go into a test so worried that the procedure cannot be done and you will have to come back.
If you need to have an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), talk to someone that you trust and see what their experience is like. Find someone who is a generally positive person or all you may hear is how scary it was or how sick they felt. Reading information online can be even worse, as most people tend to write the bad stuff and not so much of the good. Limit the amount of information you read on certain sites. Remember to take everything you read with a biased eye and that everyone is different. Some people are prone to anxiety and their pain tolerance level is low. They will be the ones with the scary stories. Only you will feel as you do during the test.

Ask your doctor questions. Find out exactly why you need the test and what they are looking for. Ask if you can eat before the test or if there are any activity restrictions. Most likely, neither of these will be the case, but if you ask, then those will be things you will not have to worry about later. Make sure your doctor knows about any other health concerns you have, such as high or low blood pressure or migraine headaches. Again, just knowing your doctor as all the needed information will help keep the worry away.

Instead of thinking about the test, do any activity you enjoy. Go to lunch with friends or read a good book. Anything that will take your mind off what you need to do. Watch a movie or play with children. Clean your house if that is something that will keep you busy. Just sitting and wait will cause all sorts of thoughts go through your mind. Worry will cause more problems than the test.

Talk to the tech that will be doing the procedure. If you are nervous, tell them. They have done this many times before and understand your trepidation. Tell them about health issues if you are worried they do not know. When you lie down, breathe deeply and try to relax. The procedure room may be chilly, so ask for a blanket. Keep your hands open and let your legs slightly turned. If you feel your muscles getting tight, consciously relax them. Close your eyes and let count your breaths if you need a distraction.

Remember that the more relaxed you are before the procedure, the better you will feel when it is done. Practice any relaxation technique you like and the test will be done before you know it.

Tito Jankowski lives in San Francisco. Find him on Twitter and . His latest direction is learning about health and blogging about MRI scans. He's quite the biotech explorer, including designing lab equipment like a blue light transilluminator and PCR machines, and co-founding BioCurious, the largest hackerspace for biotech.

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