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Claustrophobia and the MRI Machine

Daisy Mariposa has a B.A. from Montclair University in New Jersey and two occupational certificates from California colleges.

MRI Procedures are a Big Problem for Claustrophobic People

For anyone who's anxious or claustrophobic, the idea of feeling trapped in the small, loud space of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine is daunting, to say the least. For some, the anxiety may even be a deterrent to having the procedure, as fears may seem to outweigh the benefits.

Don't let your fears control you. During the past 24 years, a severely claustrophobic friend of mine has undergone approximately 30 MRI procedures. He's had plenty of time and opportunity to develop a bag of tricks to help him cope—tips he shared with me, and I share with you here. In this article, I will discuss those tools for how to manage your claustrophobia, tips that will be useful to anyone who has to undergo an MRI procedure, especially for the first time. If you need more information, I will also provide a list of helpful resources at the end of the article.

Tunnel vs. Open MRI Machine

The following are pictures of a typical tunnel MRI machine and an open MRI machine. It is important to note that even though the open machine might appear to be less claustrophobic, there is less space from the tip of the patient's nose to the top of the enclosure in an open machine than in a closed one.

Open MRI Machine


What Happens During an MRI?

Rest assured that the MRI is a simple, painless diagnostic tool that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to “see” what's happening inside, without the use of x-rays. MRI procedures have been performed for decades now. The process is safe, painless, and has no known side effects.

Knowing what will happen ahead of time will also help you prepare yourself. Although no one can predict the future, most MRI scans follow the same protocol.

The MRI Procedure

Because the "m" in MRI stands for "magnetic" and the machine employs a strong magnetic field, no conducive or reactive materials should enter the machine so first, you'll be asked to remove all metal items from your person. The radiology technician will also inquire about metal in your body—this may include dentures, pacemakers, cochlear implants, permanent tattoos, shrapnel, etc. Some items may disqualify you from having an MRI, so discuss this with your doctor beforehand. It should be noted that dental implants do not disqualify a patient from having an MRI.

Next, you will be asked to lie down on the MRI table. You may be injected with a contrast dye to make the arteries in the examined part of your body appear more clearly. If you are getting the contrast dye, you will be asked to not eat or drink for a specified number of hours before the procedure. If you're getting a brain MRI, a "catcher's mask" will be placed over your face. This "mask" has built-in antennas to detect the signals coming from your brain and retransmit them to the machine to construct an image.

After these preparations, you will be rolled into the machine. This can be particularly alarming for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia. Upon request, some facilities will give patients a "panic button"—a switch you hold during the duration of the procedure with a button you can press if you panic and wish to be rolled out of the machine. Some tunnel MRI machines have a small mirror which allows you to see down the length of your body and out the opening of the machine. At some facilities, you can choose to wear the headphones provided to listen to music during the procedure.

Having answers to these questions—what preparations will be needed, will there be a panic button, a mask, a mirror, or headphones—will help you feel more in control.

Watch and Hear an MRI Scan

Loud MRI Machine Noises

Although newer machines make less noise, an MRI scan can be extremely noisy. Even if you're not anxious or claustrophobic, you'll likely be surprised by the loud clanging, bumping, and knocking noises that the machine makes when you're inside. It is standard procedure, however, for the MRI technician to offer earplugs to the patient prior to their being rolled into the machine. If you are claustrophobic, you'll need to know about this noise ahead of time so you won't panic.

Coping Techniques

My friend suffers from acute claustrophobia. Here are some of the coping mechanisms he uses, things that may help anyone manage their anxiety:

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Read More From Youmemindbody

  • Go to the MRI facility at least a week before the procedure and have the MRI technician roll you into, and then back out of, the machine. Then you'll at least know what you're in for. (Be prepared to wait until the radiology technicians have a break between scheduled patients.)
  • No MRI facility will give you a sedative or administer anesthesia upon request. Anesthesia, which would make you completely unconscious during the procedure, or a sedative, either via an IV or pill, must be ordered by your physician at the time the MRI is scheduled. You should schedule an MRI at least a few weeks in advance if you are going to receive a sedative or anesthesia, since the former requires the presence of a registered nurse and the latter an anesthesiologist. My friend has used the sedative delivered intravenously, with positive results. My friend recommends having an intravenous sedative since the sedative begins acting immediately, whereas there is an unpredictable delay with pills which varies from person to person.
  • Have the technician agree to roll you out for, say, 30 seconds between scans. This gives you an encouraging break from being in the machine. The technician will point out that it's important to not move any part of your body while you are out of the machine.
  • You might be able to bring a friend. My friend has his girlfriend hold his hand during the procedure when using an open MRI. (Anyone in the MRI room also cannot have metal objects on or in them.) Or, for a tunnel MRI, she lays her hand on his lower leg. This gives him reassuring contact with the "outside."
  • He also has her give a "countdown" by tapping his hand (or leg) with the number of minutes left in an image; e.g., three taps means three minutes left for the image and three minutes until he can be rolled out. (There is a digital clock counting down the remaining time on the outside of the machine)
  • Some people find it useful to “preview” the noises they will hear in the MRI machine. Kent Williams (aka "chaircrusher") of Iowa City, Iowa uploaded some MRI sounds on February 12, 2010, for you to "preview." These sounds can be downloaded to your computer and transferred to an MP3 player or a Kindle.
  • Some people shut their eyes for the entire procedure—this doesn’t work very well for my friend.
  • My friend went so far as to simulate the MRI experience at home by lying in a small space while listening to MRI noises. Whatever it takes to desensitize you to the actual MRI experience is worth it.

Helpful Resources

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI Scan)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR, Chief Editor

Medline Plus
"Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside your body. Health care professionals use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of conditions, from torn ligaments to tumors. MRIs are very useful for examining the brain and spinal cord."

MRI Scans: All You Need To Know
Written by Peter Lam
Reviewed by William Morrison, MD
Last updated January 4, 2017

MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

MRI scan (for readers in the UK)
NHS choices

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: With an MRI of the brain, will most of the person's body be inside the tube?

Answer: It depends upon the height of the person. If the person is 6' tall, about 75% of the person's body will be within the machine.

Question: I'm getting an MRI done of my kidneys. Will my head or feet go into the tube first?

Answer: Since I am not a radiation technician, I cannot answer your question. If you have been scheduled to have a kidney MRI, perhaps you should contact the facility at which you will have the scans and ask someone there. I do know, however, that persons having abdominal MRIs usually go into the machine feet first.


Denise Elfenbein on March 11, 2019:

I agree with Darla Sue Dollman. I have to have an MRI for breast and I have had two MRIs before and they are nightmares! All of the things that are said above Do not work for me. My doctor is prescribing Xanax and I am not sure if even that will help me.

Darla Sue Dollman from Coolidge, Arizona on January 21, 2018:

I have severe claustrophobia and appreciate the care you would take to provide advice to people suffering from this condition, but talking to "a friend" about how it feels to try and hold still inside a tube for 90 minutes is not the same as experiencing it yourself. It is a living nightmare. The noise alone is enough to drive one insane--even with earplugs the pounding is absolutely unbearable for someone with is already crawling out of their skinwith fear. This article is detailed and informative, but as far as claustrophobia is concerned, it would be more helpful if the information and advice came from an actual medical professional because some of the details are incorrect. 1) In the past ten years that I've dealt with this health issue I haven't found one facility that allowed anyone else to be in the room with me during the MRI. They are allowed to accompany the patient, but they wait in the room with the large window along with the technicians. 2) Hearing the sounds and seeing the machine is nothing compared to the experience of sliding inside a tube and trying to remain still for 90 minutes--it really does not help to check out the machine in advance. This advice is often provided by the hospital, but I have never met anyone who found this helpful when dealing with claustrophobia and MRIs. 3) There are many types of MRIs and this article only addresses two. There is now an open MRI that allows the patient to sit while the machine moves in on the sides like two wings. Unfortunately, the image is insufficient for problems with the brain and other issues, but for other purposes it's as easy as sitting at the breakfast table. The problem is finding a facility that has this machine; getting approval from insurance; and making sure the image will be something the doctor can actually use. 4) For people with severe claustrophobia, anaesthesia is the best option, but it has to be approved by the insurance company first. Unfortunately, they generally require the patient to try the MRI without anaesthesia or with mild sedation a few times first and these failed attempts actually increase the claustrophia. The only answer to this problem is to continue working on developing a machine that does not require a pounding sound that feels like a jackhammer is being used on your body. A machine that takes quality images without closing the body in like cheese in a sandwich.

amie hawks on August 14, 2017:

Thank you for posting this! My first MRI in about an hour and I did the exact same thing your friend did (simulate at home)

Nancy Hinchliff-author on August 04, 2017:

I know how you feel. It takes my breath away to even read your comment. You would think they could come up with something better by now. But even the open one bothers me.

Vickie on August 04, 2017:

Great article!

I just had an MRI today, on my knee and shoulder, in a smaller tunnel MRI.

I had one of my knees done and coped well, as my head was still outside.

I was feeling reassured, then I got turned around and my shoulder placed in the stabiliser, all ok.

Then the technician started putting me inside and the MRI touched my shoulders! I totally lost it

Stacy P on May 19, 2017:

On my 3rd MRI. First was bad, not knowing what to expect and learning in moment, so next time went to sedative, which worked out well. Also helped tremendously to have empathy from technician. Last night I failed to complete my 3rd MRI. I know coping mechanisms, I've previously used alphabet and sang so that had each letter as 1st letter I tittle to think of songs. But last night was awful. Drugs made me groggy but thats it. technician was all about business, left his compassion home. Truly made this experience AWFUL. I'm scheduled tomorrow for open. Still plan on sedative because I don't know and must get MRI...

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on May 04, 2017:

Judy Lovett,

Thanks for posting your question. You asked about finding a facility with a helmet that is larger, so your son's head will fit. If your son's physician has ordered an MRI for your son, the physician should find a facility with the appropriate equipment.

I'm not a member of the medical community and cannot answer your question. I have not heard of MRI machines that use a helmet with the procedure.

judy Lovett on May 02, 2017:

How can my son have one where the helmet is larger so his head will fit, tried 3 different ones and he is in bad shape and needing it done asap

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on November 13, 2016:


Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I appreciate your responding to the question posted by Nevet Smith, one of my readers.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on November 13, 2016:


Thanks for reading my article. The physician who orders your MRI has to decide whether you need a sedative. That individual will decide what type of sedative you might need, and which specific one. Readers of this article cannot answer your question. Only your physician can.

Nancy Hinchliff on November 13, 2016:

Nevet, Ask your doctor. Every body is different, so if you get your answers from commenters, they may vary widely and may not be right for you.

nevet smith on November 12, 2016:

Hi, Could someone tell me what intravenous sedative works the best. I am extremely claustrophobic and doctors routinely want me to use the closed end mri machine. Thanks Nevet

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on September 13, 2016:


I'm so glad my article has helped you and many others deal with the anxiety of undergoing an MRI procedure.

Mika on September 13, 2016:

Thank you...Thank you!!!

I'm going in for an MRI in about 4 hours from now and the anxiety that I am feeling is almost overwhelming. It's on the open machine so I'm hoping that this experience will be better than my first try in the tunnel. Reading this hub has provided reassurance and really good (useful) tips. I have the Valium prescribed by my doctor just for this procedure and now all I need is to buy a sleep mask right after work. Wish me luck...

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on August 26, 2016:

Linda S.,

Thank you for reading my article and sharing your MRI experience with other readers. I hope you have fewer problems involving your rescheduled MRI.

Linda S. on August 25, 2016:

Well, seven years ago I had my first open MRI and did fine. Hubby was there, hand on my leg, steadying any fears I had. Yesterday, I went in for a follow-up, and freaked out. Hate to admit it but I was in the machine for a total of maybe 5 seconds and wanted I think it was due to a lot of things, but I rescheduled for a few days from now, and here is what I plan to do to prepare. Put one of those nose bands on my nostrils so I can BREATHE unfettered (I was stuffy yesterday from allergies), take xanax or valium BIG TIME (what ever dose my doc says is safe), have hubby there (of course - helps tremendously!), pick out some good distracting music to listen to, and really TRY to keep my eyes closed. It is hard to keep your eyes closed, and I commend those of you who are able to do it. I feel vulnerable with them closed, but maybe that is what I will need to do. Don't know how it will go, but I'll let you know in a few. Hope I can do this. I'm also afraid to drive over tall (very tall) bridges....go figure......:(

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on July 20, 2015:


Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. Undergoing an MRI procedure is not a fun experience, but the test is an important diagnostic tool.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 20, 2015:

Excellent hub and so very important too!

I have been there, done that! And it was some twenty years ago . Thank God nothing adverse was diagnosed. I can relate to it. I thought I would never come out of that hole.

A very useful and informative hub indeed and a must read.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on February 02, 2015:

Levertis Steele,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. The only problem about which I'm aware with falling asleep during an MRI procedure is that one might move.

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on February 02, 2015:

I always thought that I was claustrophobic until I had my first MRI in a tunnel machine, followed by two more in the same. I fell asleep in the first one and nodded in the other two. The last machine was noisier than the first two, but drowsiness helped it to be less bothersome.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on January 14, 2015:

Linda (Sunshine625),

Thanks for reading my article another time and adding your comment. I would hope an MRI would not be necessary, but if it were, speak with your physician about having a sedative such as Versed (midazolam) administered intravenously. This procedure has helped my friend endure his twice-yearly MRIs.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on January 13, 2015:

I recently had a CT Scan for the first time. I was claustrophobic for a few seconds, but it passed because it's just a large donut. But, my reaction was proof that I would panic in an MRI. No doubt about it.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on July 20, 2014:


Thank you for reading my article and posting your comment. Your sister-in-law should ask the physician who orders her MRI about sedation.

Sally on July 19, 2014:

My sister-in-law has MS and frequent pain spasms. She is due for another MRI and wondered what kind of sedative would be best to help her lie still. She was not sedated during the last one and had a spasm, causing blurred results.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on December 02, 2013:


It's good to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it.

If you ever need to have an MRI, be certain to tell your physician who orders the scans about your claustrophobia. He can possibly include instructions about medication when he transmits the MRI order to the facility which will be doing the scans.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on December 02, 2013:

Andy Aitch (fiftyish),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment.

If a patient is extremely claustrophobic, the person should notify their physician of the fact, so the physician can transit appropriate instructions to the MRI facility.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on December 02, 2013:

Audrey (vocalcoach),

Thanks for returning to read my article another time. I replaced one of the tunnel MRI photographs with a better image, and I added two photographs and two videos.

I'm sorry that you're going to have an MRI soon, but I'm glad that my article and everyone's comments have been a help to you.

Will you have to drive very far from Idyllwild to the MRI facility? My friend lives in Orange County, California. Even though there are MRI facilities closer to home, he drives 65 miles to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. It's one of the top five hospitals in the country, and he feels better going there for the scans.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on December 02, 2013:

I can so relate to this hub! I had to get a fairly routine scan recently, in a similar machine - it wasn't nearly as confining or as long as an MRI, but I truly felt the claustrophobia setting in, and I realized if I ever have an MRI, I will have to address this.

Such a helpful topic.

Andy Aitch from UK & South East Asian Region on December 02, 2013:

If this is a problem with Claustrophobia, and I can see how it would be, then surely in extreme cases the scan could be done under a general anesthetic. Like the saying goes, if you want to hit the dog, you'll always find a stick (figuratively speaking of course). I've never actually seen an Open MRI Machine. Also, where I live, they don't inject with a contrast dye, you just have to drink a big bottle of illuminous green liquid 30 minutes or so before the scan.

I think I'm reaching the age now where health related topics are becoming more interesting, hence me ending up here, but whether that's a good thing of not, I'm not sure lol :)

Andy Aitch

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on December 01, 2013:

Hi Daisy - I came back to read this again and take a look at the new images. I'm having an MRI soon and because I suffer from claustrophobia I felt that reading this hub again would empower me. It has.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on November 14, 2013:


Welcome to HubPages. It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting the anecdote about your MRI experience.

Tanja10 on November 13, 2013:

Thank you so much for this article but I wish I'd found it 4 days ago before my MRI for a shoulder injury.

I remember the lady who scheduled my appt. asking me if I was claustrophobic, I'd had an MRI years ago but it was a very large machine so I thought oh why is she asking me that, it's so easy....famous last words.

So, in I go and see a very small tube, my first I going to fit in it and are you going to be able to get me back out! they were so calm so I thought I was over reacting, omg, in I go and the thing is inches from my face..."Keep calm, keep calm..." nope, I lasted 5 mins and had to be pulled out...then after being told you can come back and have a sedative I thought oh just do it.

I will say for me it was really mind over matter, kept telling myself to keep calm, you are okay...good advice to keep eyes closed, sing in your head, think happy thoughts, kept telling myself your legs are hanging out so they can pull you out ...I had ear plugs in and after 20 mins was pulled out, I was actually almost I know what to expect, hope I never have to have another one though.

The technician told me, with a straight face, they had never had someone panic before, then another said people do all the time.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on November 12, 2013:


Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.

Loveofnight Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on November 12, 2013:

More than useful and very well done.This is a very informative hub. One thing that I will agree with you about is the clanking noise, that is what I found to be the most distracting along with having to stay absolutely still, while you feel a very warm pressure as if you have to go to the rest room. The doctors said that it was expected to be felt (a side effect of sorts). none-the-less no matter how uncomfortable it got the job done.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on November 12, 2013:

Minnetonka Twin,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on November 12, 2013:

Excellent article that many people will be find useful. I get catscan's (MRI'S) often as a lung cancer survivor. I also have claustrophobia pretty bad but not as bad as my twin sister. I can't explain why the MRI machine doesn't bother me but it just doesn't. I'm use to it now but even when I first had a MRI, it didn't panic me which many things do. I do shut my eyes because I always worry that it could be bad for my eyes. (even though they say it doesn't). I will be sharing this important article for those that have claustrophobia or no someone that does. Thanks so much :-)

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on October 21, 2013:


It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it.

Being prepared for an MRI...knowing what is going to a big help. "Fear of the unknown" can lead to anxiety.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on October 21, 2013:


It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on October 21, 2013:

Audrey (vocalcoach),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

My friend goes to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles for his MRIs. The last few times he has had an MRI, his physician ordered an intravenous sedative. This greatly helped my friend relax.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on October 21, 2013:

Peg (PegCole17),

Thanks for reading my article and sharing your MRI experience with us. Not moving is difficult after one after one has been rolled into the MRI machine. Having a panic button to hold is very reassuring.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on October 20, 2013:

Very interesting. I don't have claustrophobia and I have not had to have an MRI but it's always useful to know this information just in case.

CraftytotheCore on October 20, 2013:

I feel so sorry for your friend. I was suffering from migraines with paralysis last year, and had to go through my first round of MRIs. The problem for me was the noise. My head was splitting even though I was on morphene. Luckily I'm not claustrophobic though. They were kind enough to give me really strong headphones to go over my ears, but my headache worsened anyway.

When I was in my hospital room, a nurse's assistant came in to prep me for the MRI machine and put me in a gown with metal snaps. I asked her if they would be ok for the MRI machine and she said yes. But they weren't. I had to change when I got to the MRI room.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 20, 2013:

I wish this hub had been available to me before my MRI's. I've had several and just don't do well at all. Being claustrophobic doesn't help. I didn't know I could have ask for something to relax me. I felt like I was stuffed in a coffin.

These suggestions are so helpful. I'm sure more people will be better prepared for an MRI now.

Voted across except for funny, up and sharing.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on October 20, 2013:

These are great coping techniques for getting an MRI. Last month I had one for some shoulder issues and they took 20 images. It seemed to take forever but the headset they provided and my choice of music (70s rock) helped to pass the time. They also gave me a panic button and the tech came on the intercom during the procedure to ask how I was doing. The worst part was lying in that position for so long.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on September 27, 2013:

Wynn Lare,

Thank you for reading my article and posting your comment.

Wynn Lare on September 26, 2013:

thanks for such a helful article. I wanted to send something to a man's man who has never had a MRI despite a back injury in 1991. The technology wasn't there back then, but I suspect he has been avoiding getting one done. This article should help him make an informed choice. The idea that we don't have "simulator" of an MRI is surprising. There should be an APP for that, as well as other common procedures. I'll send an email to Dr. OZ about that. In the meantime, keep up the good work. Obviously a very successful post, when you are still getting comments 2 years later. THAT IS UNHEARD OF

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on September 12, 2013:

Mary (tillsontitan),

Thanks for visiting again. My claustrophobic friend has had a small amount of sedation the last two times he needed to have an MRI. The sedation helped tremendously.

Mary Craig from New York on September 12, 2013:

Though I commented a few months ago I am commenting again since my husband had to undergo several MRIs and MRAs, and just found out he is claustrophobic. No open machines here so he was sedated a tad before his tests.

Good information for those who have never had one.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on June 14, 2013:


It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and sharing your MRI coping techniques with us.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 14, 2013:

Good hub. Having MS, I have periodic MRIs to check on the status of my disease. I find that these things help: wearing earplugs, taking my shoes off, covering my body in a light sheet, having a washcloth put over my eyes, and practicing relaxation breathing. These things work so well that I nearly go to sleep in the machine each time now.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on June 13, 2013:


Thanks for reading my article and sharing your experience when your mother-in-law underwent the MRI procedure. Thanks, too, for pinning my Hub.

When someone who has claustrophobia has to have an MRI, having someone in the room with the person seems to help quite a bit.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 13, 2013:

This is great advice for people who have to undergo MRI's and who can't have their images taken in an open MRI. I held my mother-in-law's hand when she had it done years ago. The noise is truly something! Up and useful votes and pinning to my Useful Tips and Ideas board.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on June 13, 2013:


Thanks for reading my article and sharing your MRI experience. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

If I didn't go into the MRI room with my extremely claustrophobic friend and have my hand on his lower leg during the scans, he wouldn't be able to undergo the procedure. Knowing that someone is in the room with him helps tremendously.

Lisa J Warner AKA Lisa Luv from Conneticut, USA on June 13, 2013:

I get claustrophobic in that MRI machine. I feel trapped and think the world is going to end while in there and I won't be able to get out!

I have to have the attendant talk to me during the MRI to keep me calm and not feel trapped and all alone in there. Great writing! Good subject! Voting up and sharing...

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on June 02, 2013:

Nancy (alekhouse),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. My friend to whom I referred in my article is extremely claustrophobic. He prefers the tunnel MRI machine to the open version. The reason for this is because when a person in on their back in the open MRI machine, the distance from the tip of the person's nose to the top of the enclosure is much smaller in the open machine than in the tunnel version.

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on June 02, 2013:

I absolutely cannot tolerate having an MRI. I suffer from extreme claustrophobia. My doctor, therefore, prescribes open MRI for me.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on May 02, 2013:

Mary (tillsontitan),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I appreciate your continued support of my writing.

When I published this Hub, I had not no idea what to expect. My readers comments and helpful suggestions are more valuable than any information I might have provided.

Mary Craig from New York on May 02, 2013:

There are certainly many with claustrophobia and many of those need to have MRIs. This is a very helpful and useful hub for all, it will also help those who don't have claustrophobia understand a little better.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 14, 2013:

Marie (MPG Narratives),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. If you need to have another MRI, you might want to read the comments posted by the people who have read my article. My readers have contributed greatly to the success of my Hub.

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on April 13, 2013:

I have had two MRI's recently and am claustrophobic. I really wish I'd read this article before I had them because it would have helped. I ended up having sedation for both and if ever I need another I will ask for sedation up front. Thanks for a very useful article, voted up.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 13, 2013:

Celeste (celeste inscribed),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.

Whenever I've had an MRI it's been in a tunnel machine. What I've done is keep my eyes closed and try to daydream about something pleasant. The only time I've experienced any difficulty was when there was a massive power failure on the entire west coast of the United States while I was undergoing an MRI, and I had to be pulled out of the machine by the medical staff.

Celeste Wilson on April 13, 2013:

I had to have an MRI last week, my first ever. I am not claustrophobic but I can completely understand how someone with claustrophobia would traumatized. I was given headphones and the choice of music to listen to. The machine was loud so I only heard bits of the songs. They were songs I knew so I sang to myself between hearing them and not hearing them. It helped to pass the time. It was over in no time. Maybe the radiologist hurried it up because I have a horrible singing voice. :0)

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 13, 2013:


It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I'm so sorry you had such problems when having your MRI. I hope your doctors were able to get enough information from the CT scan.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 13, 2013:


Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I'm glad you found the information to be helpful. Good luck with your upcoming MRI!

Jmillis2006 from North Carolina on April 12, 2013:

I was very happy I found this hub. I needed an MRI before and was given intravenous medication , but it did not help my fear I could not complete the scan and the doctors had to relay on the less accurate cat scan results.

Susan Bailey from South Yorkshire, UK on April 11, 2013:

So glad I found this hub; I go for an MRI scan next week and am quite claustrophobic. I found this so useful. Thank you

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 03, 2013:

Jaye (JayeWisdom),

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and adding your very helpful comment. I appreciate it. My readers' anecdotes have added so much to my article.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 03, 2013:


Thanks for visiting again. I appreciate your sharing your MRI experience with us. I'm glad you were able to have your friend in the MRI room with you. Having someone accompany you to the procedure and be in the room is a big help.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 03, 2013:

Peg (PegCole17),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I'm so sorry your mother has had to undergo the back surgeries and the hip replacement surgeries.

I wasn't particluarly listening for it, but I don't remember hearing any noice coming from the room in which the MRI machine is located when I was outside the room and someone was undergoing the procedure

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 03, 2013:


Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub. I'm glad my article has apparently helped so many readers.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on April 03, 2013:

Bill (billd01603),

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I appreciate it.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on April 03, 2013:

Excellent hub. I've had numerous MRIs and can attest to the fact they're not pleasant for the claustrophobic person. My claustrophobia is in the moderate range, but I had to develop my own ways of handling the procedure in a closed machine (the only choice I've ever been given).

1. I ask the technician for a small folded cloth to be placed over my closed eyes. For some reason, NOT seeing is comforting to me even though I can feel how close the sides are as the table I'm lying on is going into the machine. I keep the cloth over my eyes the entire time.

2. When the technician tells me how many minutes each aspect of the procedure will take, as soon as the noise begins, I start counting, "One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, etc." and count off the minutes. Keeps me busy and prevents me from panicking. It's always a "plus" when that part of the procedure ends before I reach the end of the counting.

3. Knowing that I can tell the technician I'm experiencing panic helps me stay in control. (During some of my first MRIs, this wasn't an option. I was simply told that if I moved AT ALL, the procedure would have to begin all over again.)

These tips may seem minor, but they've helped me endure the enclosed space of an MRI machine without having a severe panic attack. I empathize with your friend.

Voted Up++


Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on April 03, 2013:

Dear Daisy,

Feel like I know you after visiting this hub so many times, reading the comments and contributing!!

I finally did the deed - successfully - and lived to tell the tale. OK, I got lucky with an OPEN MRI - I could see my friend standing in the corner with the thumbs up look.

Actually I have to admit, it wasn't that bad. I wore ear plugs and even dozed off a little. The sounds you let us preview on your Hub were strangely familiar and made me smile a little. I did feel a little panic reflex but knowing that there are so many out there just like me I had the courage to know I could get through it as well.

Great Hub!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on April 03, 2013:

This is useful information to those who are about to undertake this procedure. We just went through this last week with my Mom who has had three back surgeries and three hip replacement surgeries. The noise of the process is overwhelming, even from outside the room. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for someone who suffers from claustrophobia. Great explanation here.

moonlake from America on April 03, 2013:

Great hub I can understand why it ranks high. It's got my vote and share.

billd01603 from Worcester on April 02, 2013:

informative Hub-Thanks Daisy

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on March 15, 2013:


Welcome to HubPages. It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment about the prism glasses. I appreciate it.

jjjohnson3 on March 15, 2013:

I went in for a brain scan MRI. I was very nervous and did not feel comfortable going into the closed MRI unit. The MRI staff offered me a pair of prism glasses to wear. These type of glasses allow you to see outside the MRI unit. The glasses were absolutely wonderful and they got me through the MRI with no further anxiety. Please ask the MRI staff about these type of glasses. If they don't have them, I saw that they were available online from Amazon.

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on March 14, 2013:


It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I'm glad you found the information to be informative.

khmohsin on March 14, 2013:

You did the great work Daisy, very informative hub. Thanks for sharing your knowledge :)

Daisy Mariposa (author) from Orange County (Southern California) on March 12, 2013: