So, like, I had to go for an MRI on my back to confirm my Dr’s ruled out diagnosis of a herniated disc. Now a ruled out diagnosis mea the doctor pretty much knows what is wrong by eliminating other causes bad on your symptoms, location of the pain, etc. Last Friday my Dr did a bunch of little things and presumed I had a herniated disc within my lumbar spine.
Now, in order to confirm the diagnosis, I was ordered to obtain an MRI scan of my back. I’d had an MRI over 15 years ago, but didn’t exactly remember ht procedure. After now having it done, I figured Id share that experience with you if you have not had it done before.
Before the MRI
Unlike an ultrasound, there is no need to fill up with water before the test. There is actually no preparation needed. Now, I must put a caveat on that. If you have metal anywhere in your body (braces, a pin in your leg, an iron lung, the test will have to be adapted for your specific needs as a standard MRI machine would literally rip the metal out of your body. Why? Because what does MRI stand for?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
That’s right – MAGNETIC.
So if you have metal in your body, imagine what a giant magnet would do to it.
If you don’t believe me, what this.
So when the doctors ask you if you have any metal in your body, please oh please make sure you are honest with them. You don’t want to know what it feels like to have metal magnetically ripped from your body no do you? Nope, didn’t think so.
Make sure you take off all metal objects. Since I wasn’t wearing anything metal, all I had to do was take off my bra, but I kept the rest of my clothes on. That means all jewelry, piercings, nipples clamps, etc., must come off.
During the MRI
This will be a weird experience, I’m gonna tell you that off the bat. The technician will have you lay down on your back on a long, skinny bed – legs together, hands at your side. Get as comfortable here as possible. Trust me.
The best will then very slowly slide you into the MRI machine. It will be tight. You won’t be able to see much of anything as it will be a little dark. Accept that. It’s okay. The world will not end. It’s just an MRI.
Tip #1 – Do you best to ignore the noise.
The MRI tech will give you a pair of headphone for 2 reasons. First, so they can talk to you while you are in the machine, if necessary. Second, to help block out the noise the machine makes. For the latter, it doesn’t work.
Now, when I tell you that the MRI machine is loud and obnoxious, I am not kidding. First it sounds like having a jackhammer stuck with you in a small closet. Then the noise stops. Oh, but that does not mean peace and quiet for you…no no no. A new noise begins that I can only describe as being stuck staid near the speakers o a really bad rock concert. Yep, I mean from a band like Slipknot or something. It’s terrible.
But then that stops.
And then the jackhammering starts again, mixed with the bad rock music, mixed with the jackhammering, then the bad rock music…you see where this is going.
You can’t escape it. All you can do is try your best meditation practices to ignore tithe best you can.
I simply took a nap.
Yup, I’ve got skills like that.
Tip #2 – Do. Not. Move.
Remember earlier when I said to make sure you get yourself as comfortable as possible when you first get onto the long, skinny bed? Yeah, this is why. A typical MRI takes from 15-30 minutes, depending on how much of your body is being scanned. Now, dealing with all that I stated above, you also have to contend with the fact that you must sit statuesquely still for the duration of this procedure.
No finger tapping.
No toe flicking.
No lip licking.
No movement at all.
And the punishment for moving is that the scan has to be redone and you have to endure the torture stated above even longer. You don’t want that.
After the MRI
Through the headphones you will hear the technician tell you that the test is done. You will feel the long, skinny bed slowly slide out of of the machine. It will be bright again and you will be able to move again. FREEDOM!!!
At this point you will be able to get redressed (if you did undress), and that is it. Your results will be sent to your doctor in a few days.
By now you are aware that the test is not painful. No one is touching you. And you don’t have to be naked (THANK GOD). So you see, nothing to be scared of. Nothing to worry about. It’s just a test. It’s just a test.