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MRI Claustrophobia

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Has anyone here experienced MRI claustrophobia? I had an MRI scheduled today to see if I have a torn rotator cuff, but after 10 seconds in there they had to pull me out. I tried again and lasted about 3 minutes, but couldn’t take it and had them pull me out again. They offered valium to make it easier, but by then I’d had enough and walked; I decided I’d rather live with the pain. I never knew I was claustrophobic, but that experienced totally freaked me out.
post #2 of 24
It's a tight fit (and noisy as hell), but I'd take it over the alternatives: "Living" with an injury that may gradually worsen or absorbing a year's worth of radiation with some species of contrast CAT scan.

Assume you also get same sensation in other tight spaces? If yes, maybe hopeless, if no, try desensitization. Talk to your MD about this. Don't just give up.
post #3 of 24
It's very common. The MRI is a tight tube and the machine is noisy.

You can try taking the Valium about a half hour prior to the MRI; or talk to your doctor about an "open MRI".
post #4 of 24
My doc gave me a sedative to take prior to the MRI. I sometimes suffer from claustrophobia & didnt want to jeopardize my MRI appointment. Up here in Canada, there's a huge waiting list to get a MRI done. If I miss out it could mean 3-6mos before I could get another appointment.

I'd get a sedative from your doctor & take it prior to the MRI. It's worth it to find out whats happening with your shoulder.
post #5 of 24
Around here there are open MRI for people that have claustrophobia or are too American (read: obese).

I've had quite a few MRI's and when going in it is a bit weird, dare I say scary, but I usually fall asleep in there....that is if I am not in a ridiculously uncomfortable position....happens often.
post #6 of 24
I've had two of them, and what I do is close my eyes and KEEP THEM CLOSED. It's tempting to open for a quick peak, but I fight off the temptation. I find that this works for me. There's a gentle breeze in there and it doesn't FEEL claustrophobic. But if I just open my eyes for a second it totally changes the perception.
post #7 of 24
I have gotten to the point where i fall asleep when i am in it.They ask if i am ok and tell me i was snoring.
post #8 of 24
Yes, SkiMangoJazz has the key. Go in with eyes closed, and start daydreaming.

Before that table even MOVES, close your eyes and don't open them even if you think Satan himself is staring at you.

I always take myself to my happy place. I frolic on the beach, look for shells, imagine the noises to be waves crashing on the rocks and seagulls crying overhead......it can be very relaxing.

I'm claustrophobic to the max. I can't sit in the middle of a theater. I have to be on the end row. I can't get in a closet and shut the door. I could never be in a cave. I like open spaces so much that the machine is about the worst torture I can think of.

I had to spend 2 hours solid in one of those with only a break for an injection the 16th of April. It wasn't easy. http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...=51304&page=16 Post #470.
And it was no simple rotator cuff that would have been done in 20 minutes and would have left at least your knees hanging out. I've had plenty of MRI's in my life, and while they are never easy, they get easier with the right technique going in. You know you can get out whenever you want. You've found that out.

So suck it up and get back in there. Take a sleep mask and wear it so even if you get the urge to look, you can't. Little kids go through this, Festus, and if you think this is bad, wait till you get old. Old age ain't for sissies, and I can guarantee you'll have plenty of unpleasant things ahead if you live long enough.

Good luck.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Based on the pain I experience I don't think I have a total tear, but a smaller partial tear, which they can't fix anyway. I was told surgery is only an option for a total tear. I'm undecided about trying again, but I did learned I'm the perfect demographic for MRI claustrophobia; male, 50ish, post-graduate degree. Gee, who'd ever thought 50 year old men would be afraid of MRIs, I didn't until they straped me down, blindfolded and earphoned me and conveyored me into the noisemaker. All I could think about is what it must be like to be trapped in an avalanche and that I needed to get the heck out of that machine.
post #10 of 24
But you're not in an avalanche, and your life is not in danger. It's only scary in your head.

It's like having a baby. You don't want to do it after it gets to a certain point but you have no choice. Just cowboy up and do the damn thing and be a hero to yourself.

What happens if you REALLY need it someday? Grow the balls and git er done while you have the luxury of not having excrutiating pain to deal with also.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonni View Post
Grow the balls and git er done while you have the luxury of not having excrutiating pain to deal with also.
Bonni...after all you've been through you must have grown four or five cojones by now, and they must be sizable as well!!! :
post #12 of 24
I watched Arnold Swartzinager go into something like one and he didn't come out the same. That was on my mind the first time I went into one with my shoulders. I shut my eyes and kept them closed.
post #13 of 24
LOL
post #14 of 24
I have had a few MRI,s and I must be sedated before I go in. The worst was when after the MRI they kept me in the stupid machine for another 20 minutes while they got someone to check the MRI. I was steaming when I got out and wrote a letter to the hospital, which I'm sure did no good.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonni View Post
But you're not in an avalanche, and your life is not in danger. It's only scary in your head.

It's like having a baby. You don't want to do it after it gets to a certain point but you have no choice. Just cowboy up and do the damn thing and be a hero to yourself.

What happens if you REALLY need it someday? Grow the balls and git er done while you have the luxury of not having excrutiating pain to deal with also.
Well heck, I’m sure that just as soon as I get saddled up and strap on my chaps, I’ll commence with the growin’, and maybe grow one extra just in case, that way I'll be sure to have no worries. Yahoo!
post #16 of 24
Hey, Festus,
Coincidentally, I just had an MRI done last week for rotator cuff injury I suffered when I crossed my tips and landed hard on my shoulder (luckily, with arm tucked under) in early March. I also am a 50-something male.

I don't consider myself claustrophobic, so I was surprised when I felt a feeling of panic start to build once I got inside the tube. I thought I was going to need to push the panic button, but I closed my eyes and imagined I was just lying on an open table. I kept them shut the rest of the 20 mins. (despite heavy temptation to sneak a peek), and focused my thoughts elsewhere. I did actually snooze a few minutes at the end.

As it turns out, I have just a minor tear, but the MRI showed a lot of moderate-to-severe pre-existing tendinitis that was exacerbated by the injury. My doc recommended a conservative treatment approach. No surgery and I'm even holding off on cortisone shots. He said that there's a good chance that 8-10 weeks of physical therapy (3 times per week) to strenghten the injured shoulder would produce a good result. I start tomorrow.

Of course, your situation could be different, but if you absolutely cannot tolerate an MRI, and if open MRI is not an option, you may want to just go for the physical therapy approach. Based on your description, there's a good chance that it would turn out to be your best course of action anyway.

Good luck.
post #17 of 24
Hasn't anyone heard of an "open MRI" ? Just ask where you can have one. Personally, I'm like Skidump, I fall aspleep in them. Around here, they give you head-sets and you pick which Satellite station to listen to. (Serius, Alt-nation)
post #18 of 24
I'm like skidbump and Finndog. I've fallen asleep in the MRI before.

Open MRI isn't as good, but I suppose its better than not having one.

How the hell do you do things like ride in a gondola or take a crap in a public bathroom?
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post
I'm like skidbump and Finndog. I've fallen asleep in the MRI before.

Open MRI isn't as good, but I suppose its better than not having one.

How the hell do you do things like ride in a gondola or take a crap in a public bathroom?
now that's another phobia.....
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
I've had two of them, and what I do is close my eyes and KEEP THEM CLOSED. It's tempting to open for a quick peak, but I fight off the temptation. I find that this works for me. There's a gentle breeze in there and it doesn't FEEL claustrophobic. But if I just open my eyes for a second it totally changes the perception.

Same here. I had to do a double session (MRA) to check the blood flow in my neck and upper spine, so my head was strapped down as well. There was a little mirror in there to look out so it gave the illusion of being a bit more open.
post #21 of 24
Imbedded metal objects preclude having MRI's unless there is a pragmatic way of shielding them. I had a patient go down for one but they sent the guy back saying an x-ray indicated that the guy had a cylindrical metal object in his head. I asked the patient when he got back if he knew what it was? He said, "Oh yeah, I was out hunting with my preacher and he shot me in the head."
post #22 of 24

MRI claustrophobia is more common than you think.  Hope you survived it :) 

 

Next time check this out - there's a great Top 5 ways to relieve stress or claustrophobia during an MRI here: 

 

http://www.two-views.com/MRI/claustrophobia.html

post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvwalker51 View Post

Imbedded metal objects preclude having MRI's unless there is a pragmatic way of shielding them. I had a patient go down for one but they sent the guy back saying an x-ray indicated that the guy had a cylindrical metal object in his head. I asked the patient when he got back if he knew what it was? He said, "Oh yeah, I was out hunting with my preacher and he shot me in the head."


That's why I use titanium hardware :)

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Festus View Post

Based on the pain I experience I don't think I have a total tear, but a smaller partial tear, which they can't fix anyway.


 

Cognitive dissonance plus a cuff tear. :/

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