MRI when dizzy

Hi all,

I have an MRI scheduled in a few days’ time. I’m so scared I will get dizzier while lying still in the machine (for 30-45 minutes)! How did all of you cope?

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Dont you need to be afraid, I have done 2 at the same time so I was in for 1 h and 30 min, you may experience dizziness only when you have to sta d up again.

Hi Carrie. It’s really annoying cos I’ve had this same discussion on here a couple of times previously with other people in the past and I can’t seem to pick up the other threads. Can’t remember the Search facility failing me ever before. So back to the drawing board.

I don’t know your history but best advice I can give. If you do experience vertigo make sure you are not rushed. Worse case scenario us you rush to get into the exact correct position before the scan starts and then you get dizzy and cannot go through with it. That once happened to me, all because the technicians rushed me. Explain this to the staff, ask them exactly when you need to lie, preferably by demo! And then lie yourself down at your own speed. Of course afterwards the reverse applies. You can ask but usually it is not advised that you take any medication beforehand. I assume you are having a full brain scan so once you are in place they fix your head stationery and you must lie perfectly still throughout. It would be pretty difficult to do otherwise cos they put pillows under your bum/feet etc. Then it’s a question of following the instructions over the speaker. If you do get ill you have a buzzer placed in your hand to press to stop proceedings.

Try to relax and not worry. Provided you can lie flat you should be fine in the machine. Take great care and go slowly lying down and coming back up afterwards. I just laid there with my eyes closed and listened to the noise. It is noisy, lots of clanging going on and you also have to listen out for the radiographer who in my case, kept up a running commentary for distraction I assume. “Now we are photographing the right side, one, two, three different angles… and so on”. Helen

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Hi Carrie

The MRI scanner isn’t as bad as you might think - I have to have them regularly and with MAV I was worried like you. The only real thing thats uncomfortable is the vibration but its not unbareable. I suppose you can liken the feeling to when you’re at the dentist and they drill inside the mouth… uncomfortable for a dizzy brain but usually can get through it. You can come out and any point by pressing your buzzer and they talk almost all the way through and tell you how long you have left in there as Helen mentioned @Onandon03

It was afterwards where I usually feel off balance or jumpy eye movements when trying to focus on words etc. Dont worry you will be fine just keep your eyes closed and imagine your having G&T on the beach somewhere :tropical_drink::ok_hand:

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Isn’t that strange I don’t recall feeling that at all and I was very acute 24/7 dizzy at the time and always very susceptible to vibration. Even fuel going in the tank would my MAV up. I used to have to get out of the vehicle at the garage. Just the dog panting in the estate would do it too. Helen

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Yes, same Helen! First and second time in scanner never bothered me - just getting of vert flat surface afterwards. These days vibration is terrible for me. Last time I had MRI it set me off, but like I say it wasn’t unbearable and nothing as bad as I can get. :thinking:

My MRI experience is not good, but you can get thru. For reference, I’m seriously claustrophobic, react badly to MRI contrast and always get a huge migraine. Last time it started an aura and the whole world went purple before doing some psychedelic great big Georgia O’Keefe flowers turning themselves inside out thing which lasted the duration (kind of pretty really). So, you know, overall a shitty experience. I’d do it again this afternoon (minus contrast) if I needed to.

If you can request an open MRI, that’s a better option for those of us who do poorly in confined spaces. Those aren’t available everywhere but it’s worth the asking. The MRI before last was an open MRI. It was better. My elevated pulse betrayed me to the tech, but much less than the tube version. The techs are used to those of us who involuntarily freak out before it even gets under way. Even if you aren’t claustrophobic, tell them you are afraid and why. They will check on you and keep up a running commentary. It’s a sanity lifeline.

MRI contrast allergies are rare and most sensitivities aren’t serious. It’s probably not an issue whatsoever for you. But if contrast is something you have to deal with, speak up and ask questions. Do so particularly if you have any history of kidney issues. If they’re doing bloodwork ahead of time, that’s what they’re checking. My kidneys are sketchy but good enough for the test so it’s likely that isn’t an issue either. (Yes, I’m a highly functional, genetically challenged hot mess.)

Ask beforehand if you can be medicated. An anti nausea med or a benzo can go a long way towards making the experience more pleasant. Those shouldn’t affect the structural issues they’re looking for with MRI, though it might interact with contrast. Worth the phone call.

A lot of us have neck issues. If you do, tell the tech. True, they lock your head in place but like Helen @Onandon03 suggested, tell them ahead of time. Lay yourself down slowly. Adjust your neck if you can before they put the brace on. My last MRI went 90 minutes. My atlas was way off at the time. By the time I got out of the tube the neck pain was counterbalancing the migraine, which was kind of a good thing actually. Anyway, mind your neck and spine to the extent you can. If I do another MRI, it will be directly after visiting the chiropractor.

If they offer earplugs, use them. I bring a set with me just in case.

Finally, I recommend practicing some breathing exercises. I freak out. I try really hard not to, but I do. I find breathing in on the count of 10, holding for 10 and breathing out for 10 at least keeps me from hyperventilating. Pride tends to keep the impulse to shriek in check. I envy people who can fall asleep in those things.

So, there are strategies. You can get thru it. Most people do fairly easily. It’s worth the peace of mind that results from knowing it’s not a tumor, aneurysm, etc.

My MRI wasn’t too bad but I did experience some “triggering” …I had it done when I wasn’t chronic yet but I was already experiencing the “I’m about to start spinning” sensation from time to time and it usually happened when I was too still.

It happened about 3 times while I was getting the test done, opening my eyes as big as possible and focusing them on something specific helped the sensation go away …to be honest I would be too scared to get one done right at the moment

A klonopin would help that immensely.

I had a constant movement ‘pulse’ going the entire time. It was hard to know if I was actually still! Got through it even if it was uncomfortable. It’s a very strange location, so be prepared to feel a bit claustrophobic, and resolve to keep yourself calm.

You’ll be fine!


Strangely enough it didn’t bother me at all. I felt a bit ordinary afterwards walking out of the hospital but in the scanner I felt fine

Just like you Jess, the actual scan didn’t bother me at all. I remember we’d had terrible trouble finding the medical centre being in a strange town and without any Sat Nav and as it was a long journey had had a terribly early start to make an early morning appointment and the centre was very near two huge schools where that morning it seemed every parent in England was dropping their kids off by car so, after all that, the centre, a nearly new building was an oasis of calm and quiet and the actual scan proved a bit of an anticlimax. Nothing to get worked up over at all. I kept my eyes closed because I was extremely light sensitive at the time but was afraid to allow myself to doze in case I moved nodding off. I do remember keep wondering what all the clanking noise was. Helen

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The technician when I had my MRI was very in tune with my condition (although no one knew what it was at that time). He made sure I was comfortable when preparing and I did have the clamp type of contraption that kept my head still, he checked on me thought the earphones constantly and kept me updated on the progress. Even asked what type of music I wanted, since I didn’t have a preference (too scared to care), he chose country music which was quite entertaining when you have nothing else to do but focus on the words.
Beer, bikinis, barns, dogs, bars and trucks are good for the imagination :joy:
Sitting and standing up afterward was the worst part.
It was not bad at all for me. Best wishes Carrie!!!


Have to agree with almost every word. An MRI Scan is pretty innocuous and has that great advantage @flutters mentioned when MAV throws all manner of weird symptoms at you in the future you can be reassured however unpleasant they are there is nothing sinister behind it. Only place we differ is the music. I chose Classical but the clanking was too loud I couldn’t hear much of it. I do remember at one point it went very much quieter for a good while and I caught most of Pachelbel’s Canon which was the piece my god-daughter walked down the aisle to so I spent the rest of the scan reliving her wedding service. Helen

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Well I feel a little robbed as I got bugger all music!! :joy::see_no_evil:


Private or NHS was that? (hee, hee). Helen

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Don’t worry, an MRI scan sounds like a Deadmau5 track!! :mouse:


NHS… says it all eh?! Surely it wouldn’t cost too much to play me 90’s Madonna :sunglasses::heart_eyes:

Oh. No. That’s probably still under copyright cost in royalties unless of course they could pipe you live radio which is what ‘mine’ did. ClassicFM actually. Oh mine was private but then again I couldn’t gain access to a neurologist or anything for MAV on NHS, yet alone an MRI. GP didn’t agree it was necessary but that’s another story. Do have vague feeling my CT Scan was NHS for some reason although it’s 4 years ago now. Helen

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My brother had a lumbar puncture private and he explained the day as lovely… :joy: free teas/coffees and your own private room! I wonder if I should get some medical insurance… :thinking: