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How to keep still in MRI scan when in pain

rach21rach21 Posts: 8
edited 2. Jun 2014, 07:02 in Living with Arthritis archive
I have to go for an MRI scan. I have arthritic spine and cannot lie on my back for longer than a few seconds without having pain. I don't know how to get through a long MRI scan where I can't move. Obviously I will take pain killers but that doesn't help at bed time so doubt it will help with MRI scan. Doctor said grit your teeth and bear it. Does any one have any advice please.

Thanks
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Comments

  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,968 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I know this topic has come up before, rach21, and I'm not sure what the answers were. I've only ever had one MRI and I was doped up on morphine at the time as I'd broken a hip. I hope some others pick up on this thread.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • barbara12barbara12 Posts: 20,770
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello rach21
    I have OA in my spins and hips, I have had two MRIs and find that for some strange reason I could keep still,take your meds and explain when you get there, believe me they have seen all types...and they put a sought of cushion under your knees, this seems to take some of the pressure off the spine, if you are in too much pain you just press the buzzer they give you and you can have a break ..I do hope it does well for you and please let us know how you get on
    Love
    Barbara
  • KittkatKittkat Posts: 309
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Rach
    I have often wondered this. Hope you find the answers. Maybe you could ask your consultant/nurse?Hope all goes well!
    How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
  • As5567As5567 Posts: 665
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think being told to grit your teeth by your doctor is a really silly thing to tell a patient, I had to have an x ray of my hip a few days ago and I cannot straighten out that leg nor point my toes together to get into the right position. I also cannot lie flat on the bed as my spine is in a bent forward position at the moment due to inflammation. They just shot the xray in the best position I could stay still in.

    In your case I don't see how it would be possible to stay still for such a long time without being sedated with some sort of medication, I know they sometimes do this for children with certain problems so it might be worth calling around and asking if this can be arranged, that's the only way I can see it possible for you to be able to stay still.
  • salamandersalamander Posts: 2,028
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I had a couple of MRI scans recently where I had to lie on my stomach with my arms extended over my head. This when I was waiting for a steroid injection for a very inflamed joint. It took 1 hr 45 mins, was very painful and they weren't particularly sympathetic. However, I did insist on breaks and having to stand up to move around and they just had to accommodate that. I wish you luck with it.
  • rach21rach21 Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Got my appointment which was a bit of a shock. 7.20 am this Sunday morning.
  • grettagretta Posts: 74
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi

    I too had this problem with my arthritic spine. I was terrified as to how I was going to cope with the MRI. If you mention it to them they push a sort of triangular cushion under your knees so that your legs are bent. It really does help & they help you to get up afterwards by removing the cushion & turning you onto your side still with your legs bent & then gradually pushing yourself up onto your elbows, then it is easy to get up.
    Wouldn't bother me now if I had to have another.

    Gretta
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,968 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Some helpful advice there from gretta.

    This Sunday is good. 7.20am? Well, I guess it doesn't give you much worrying time :wink: Good luck!
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • villiervillier Posts: 4,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Good luck for Sunday Rach, I had an MRI on Sunday past, they also put a cushion under my knees it really helped alleviate the pressure on my back. Let us know how you get on........................Marie x
    Smile a while and while you smile
    smile another smile and soon there
    will be miles and miles of smiles
    just because you smiled I wish your
    day is full of Smiles
  • Francie7532Francie7532 Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I say, the sooner the better!! Get it over with. Worrying and fretting about it longer may just make the whole experience a nightmare. I agree with the others....
    1. make sure you are able to take a break
    2. get the pillow for bending your knees (this does take the pressure off the spine and helps with pain control)
    3. get medicated (talk to your doctor and get something extra)
    4. practice laying on the bed with a pillow behind your knees, see how it feels, try to get comfortable.
    5. practice meditation (find a painfree awesome memory and stay with it)
    6. Make sure the staff know just how much pain you are in, don't be polite, remember "squeaky wheel gets the grease"!

    GOOD LUCK!!
  • rach21rach21 Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks everyone. Great advice, the squeeky wheel bit made me smile as well!
  • StarburstStarburst Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You can ask for breaks, so don't be afraid to ask for it if you need. They give you a button to press, so press that button if you need it! :wink: Also, I agree that ask for the wedges. It can get cold in there, so if the coldness makes you stiff (it does for me) they can give you a blanket.

    Good luck!
  • frogmellafrogmella Posts: 1,115
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have had, I think, 6 MRI scans on my spine. When I went for the first one they weren't very sympathetic at all. At that point I couldn't bend enough to do my own shoes and she just stood over me and watched!

    I always managed to stay still, I think more because I am a "get it over with" person and the idea of stopping and starting just seemed awful to me! The cushion thing always appeared and it really helps. I also took my strongest pain meds and had a lift so that I didn't have to drive.
  • rach21rach21 Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I did it. I took all the painkillers I could, the cushion under my knees was very helpful. I tried to count the noises the machine made but been the the influence of codeine meant I could but just listening to the noise took my mind off the pain. Had to close my eyes, didn't realise how closed in it was going to be and best of all it only lasted 15 mins.

    Thanks for all the spy poor just need to wait for results now
  • villiervillier Posts: 4,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well done Rach, that's it by with, at least you know what to expect if there is a next time, you did the right thing by closing your eyes it can be off putting when the scanner is so close to your face. Let us know what the outcome is..................Marie x
    Smile a while and while you smile
    smile another smile and soon there
    will be miles and miles of smiles
    just because you smiled I wish your
    day is full of Smiles
  • grettagretta Posts: 74
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Rach

    Congratulations. Glad you have got it over with & that it wasn't as bad as you were expecting it to be. Hope you get a good result from it now.

    Gretta
  • StarburstStarburst Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    15 mins? That was speedy! Glad it went well, fingers crossed that the wait for results isn't too long.
  • justinbarrowjustinbarrow Posts: 338
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I also had problems when I had to have a recent MRI scan, it was for around 10 mins and they put supportive cushions under my bum and knees.

    At one point of the scan I started to move and they had to restart that part of the scan again.

    They gave me a buzzer to press if I needed help and couldn't cope but the biggest problem for me was that I could not get up after the scan when they rolled me out of the scanner as I had seized up.

    The nurse was only little and tried to help but it took a good 10 mins just to get sat upright.

    Its a strange one as you need the MRI scan but then the pain raises its ugly head.

    Just thought to share my experience.
  • rach21rach21 Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Got my results, quote 'you have a central disc protruding at the L5/S1 space. This comes very close to some nerves in the area. I think you should see a spinal surgeon to see if the disc needs removing'.

    At least things are getting sorted. No doubt I'm going to need all your support as I'm sure you have some good advice.
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,968 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've no advice at all on spinal matters, rach, but will certainly be here to support :)
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • grettagretta Posts: 74
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Although I have an arthritic spine, nothing has ever been done for me apart from medication. My MRI scan was for gall bladder problems. Will be interested to know what will be done for yours. I too will be here to support you.

    Gretta
  • rach21rach21 Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Just an update. Got out of hospital on Thursday after having emergency discectomy. Pain in my legs gone just left a bit numb. Back still aches. Still have osteoarthritis in spine and physio will help but at least legs sorted
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,968 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for the update.

    There is nothing that will actually get rid of OA but, if the discectomy has sorted the leg problem, that has to be very good news. I hope it wasn't too traumatic
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • frogmellafrogmella Posts: 1,115
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have to disagree SW. I had OA in my L4L5 facet joints. I had the level fused and had most of the dodgy joint removed at the same time. I now am OA free at that level and pain free too, I might add. The thing is that doctors seem to think we should just live with the pain of facet joint OA and in general spinal surgery seems to be frowned upon. I was "lucky" in that as my spinal problems started my husband had medical insurance through work and we kept it on when he was made redundant. I think without it I would still be where I was. As it was I found a brilliant surgeon who gave me my life back.
    I think what I am saying is that if you make a big enough song and dance things can be done to help with spinal arthritis.
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,968 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I do apologise, frogmella. I was speaking in general, not about particular joints and certainly not about the spine which is my best area :lol: . As one who has has both hips and knees replaced I accept they are probably OA and RA free mostly but fingers, shoulders and toes continue to twang :roll:
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
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