6 Tips for Making Your Next MRI More Comfortable

  • by Teva's Lift MS Team
  •   February 12, 2018

Tips for the MRI

From diagnosis to continued disease management, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) play an important role for those living with multiple sclerosis. Understanding the different ways neurologists could use MRIs may help you prepare for your next appointment. 

MRIs are commonly used by neurologists to diagnose MS, as they create pictures of the brain. This helps neurologists detect damage caused when confused T cells attack the myelin surrounding nerve tissue. Since myelin is a fatty substance, it repels water. Once the myelin is stripped away, the area is able to hold more water. This water-filled area shows up in an MRI scan as either a bright white spot or a darkened area, depending on the type of MRI used.

Once diagnosed with MS, MRIs may be used to track the progression of MS. Neurologists might compare past and current MRIs, as well as look at other factors, to determine if the current treatment plan is effective. Most neurologists recommend a yearly MRI so they can evaluate the disease. You can prepare yourself for MRI appointments by bringing a list of questions you may have about the process to discuss with your neurologist.

Now that you know how MRIs may be used in MS, let’s talk about a few tips that may help make you feel more at ease during your MRI.

  1. Eat and drink. MRI appointments could take an hour or longer. Eat a healthy meal and drink water so you don’t grow hungry during the process. You might also consider bringing a snack just in case!  

  2. Dress comfortably. These appointments can take a while. Wear an outfit that allows you to be as comfortable as possible.
     
  3. Bring headphones. MRIs can be noisy. Drown out the sound by listening to your favorite songs or guided meditation.  
      
  4. Take a blanket. Stay cozy and comfortable throughout the process. Bring your favorite blanket or ask for one when you arrive.

  5. Bring support. Having support nearby can help put your mind at ease.  Ask someone to come with you if you’re feeling nervous or anxious.

  6. Breathe deeply. To reduce stress that could be brought on by an MRI, try your best to relax by using mindful breathing techniques.

We hope you find these tips helpful. Let us know your go-to MRI tip in the comments below.

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16 Comment(s)
  • Margaret Burton | February 23, 2018
    Great tips.
    But I think you left off the most important one.
    I always tell people not to open their eyes while they are in the machine. Even if you think you are not claustrophobic opening your eyes while in the machine can be quite frightening.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | February 26, 2018
      Thank you for sharing this tip, Margaret.
  • Cindy | February 23, 2018
    I would avoid the drinking prior- nothing worse than having the urge to pee while counting down the minutes!
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | February 26, 2018
      Thank you for sharing with the community, Cindy.
  • Dawn | February 27, 2018
    I am Not a morning person. I make my MRI appt
    early in the day. I put on my cozy sweats, and pretend the loud buzzing is an old fan drowning out the neighbors stereo, and relax and fall asleep.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | February 28, 2018
      We appreciate that you took the time to share, Dawn. Best wishes!
  • Jayme | March 04, 2018
    This was helpful information. Thanks
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 05, 2018
      We strive to make Lift MS an informative and inspiring community, Jayme. Thanks for your part in making it so.
  • Mildred | March 16, 2018
    Is MS hereditary ?
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 19, 2018
      Hi Midlred, if you are experiencing symptoms, we suggest you reach out to your health care team for support. Best wishes to you!
  • Susanne Roy | March 16, 2018
    My MRI last year had a view out a window where I could see a park so I requested that one for my next one.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 19, 2018
      We appreciate that you took the time to share, Susanne. Best wishes!
  • Elias | March 16, 2018
    Don’t wear ANYTHING with metal ! That goes for zippers on your pants,jeans,shorts . Wear pull on/off clothing. Don’t forget about rings, too !
    And one gripe here. There is really NOTHING that will drown out the beeps and KA-chunks of the MRI machine. Check out YouTube for sounds of MRI. There, you hear what the sound is like.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 19, 2018
      Great suggestions, Elias!
  • Jillian | March 16, 2018
    For the Maris that don't provide "headphones" my suggestion is to bring your OWN earplugs. The ones they provide don't work very well. *Just a thought. It worked for me when I had to stick my head in a "bucket" for a brain MRI.
  • Michelle | March 16, 2018
    I close my eyes as soon as they start to put me in the machine. To help me relax and pass the time, I count the clicks and knocks the machine makes. I've almost fallen asleep during my MRIs.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 19, 2018
      Thanks for sharing, Michelle.
  • ERic | March 16, 2018
    Lol I totally disagree with number 1. I’ve taken MRI for the last 18 years and I don’t know anyone with MS that can hold food or water for more than a hour without going to the bathroom and being stuck in a tube ?!
  • Virginia | March 17, 2018
    I am so blessed to know the very best radiologist of all, my son! Maybe this will not be posted but i had to say it!!!
  • Linda Struble | March 17, 2018
    I find if I close my eyes on the trip back into the tube And then I can open them after I get back then I close my eyes when they start the pounding it helps me
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 19, 2018
      Thank you for sharing this tip, Linda.
  • Candyfancher60@yahoo.com | March 18, 2018
    I fall asleep which makes it take longer
  • Debbie  | March 18, 2018
    Listen to Enya... Best for MRI so is panic attack music on YouTube.. It really does work the MRI techs will ask if you want music. Also invest in a good pair of socks, warm fuzzy socks make you feel safe.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 19, 2018
      Thank you for sharing what works for you, Debbie.
  • Estella Juarez | March 19, 2018
    Thank you for the information
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 20, 2018
      We’re happy to hear that you liked the post, Estella.
  • Angela  | March 20, 2018
    I've had MS for 11years
    had my upsets and my
    bounce back my MRIs
    MS is not fun all the information I can get
    is appreciated.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 21, 2018
      You might enjoy Teva’s Lift MS Facebook page, Angela. You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/liftms. Best wishes!