Advice for lying still in MRI?

Before my neuropathy and EM, I never had trouble with MRI scans. But since then they've been torture. (No claustrophobia; just pain under my hip bones and cramps in muscles.) Tomorrow I need to repeat the brain MRI I had a year ago, and I'm terrified that I won't be able to lie still. I did use Valium last year, and that helped a little, but I'm wondering if anybody has any other tips.

I hope I haven't answered this too late. Sorry if I have.

I take a tranquillizer before an MRI. I've had brain scans and back scans. I used to just suffer through the darn things but last time I needed a MRI of my lower back I told them of my problems and the technician told me that they wouldn't insert the whole table (and me) -- My chest and head were free. If I ever need another MRI of my head, I'm going to ask them if they can do it the other way round and just put my head and upper chest in and leave the rest of me outside.

Mostly, I think, it helps to not keep your concerns and problems to yourself but rather, tell the technicians involved. They might be able to come up with a creative solution. Also, they won't grow inpatient if you do move. The MRI might take longer but chances are it will be fine.

I've since read that there are now vertical MRI machines. Given the cost they probably aren't common yet. Next time I need an MRI hopefully I'll be able to find a place that has a vertical MRI machine. Perhaps they are 'better' than the horizontal ones or maybe they are vertical because there are many reasons why people have problems lying flat and still.

Good luck, hope things are okay.


Not too late at all, blue. Thanks so much for your advice. I'm especially glad to know that moving a little won't ruin the whole thing. (I think sometimes the technicians exaggerate their instructions because they think people won't take the instructions seriously enough.) I'll also share my concerns, as you say. In particular I'll ask the technician to keep talking to me -- sometimes they seem to tune out, and that makes me panic.

Thanks again--


Dkel and blue: the MRI went fine. I opted not to take Valium since it's an unfamiliar drug; just took an extra 100 mg of gabapentin. But I think the main reason I didn't panic was--guess what--the technician. I explained my concerns, and she did everything possible to help, including telling me how long each scan would last and how many more there were to come. So thanks for your good advice!


Dear LynnV,

The mod team just want to say how pleased we all are that your MRI went ok. Well done!

Many of us take an extra 100-200mg of gabapentin (its like drinking a good bottle of wine ;), or couple of diazepam.

Having a great radiologer definitely helps.

Big hug

God bless


Hi Lynn,

I'm really glad to hear you did well. I've so often found voicing any fears I may have, to those doing the tests, really helps me in these situations. When you do so, I've found, it's only the rare medical person that does not stop and see you as a person, not just a 'test' they have to do.

Many years ago, just before I experienced EM, I tried gabapentin for migraine prevention but it was not helpful for the migraines. When I see my POTs EM specialist this august I expect it will be one of the meds we talk about. Good to know you can get a 'confidence boost' from it if needed. :)