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Whole back MRI

tiff142ttiff142 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Chronic Pain
Hello, first ever post on here so sorry if I sound completely clueless!

I have just been told that I need an entire back MRI, I have suffered with upper and lower back pain for a long time now, i literally never get any rest from the pain, so I'm glad that at last someone is helping me.

The only thing I'm slightly nervous about it the fact that MRI machines are quite small, and being a little claustrophobic I'm really not looking forward to the prospect of being stuck in one of these!

So a couple of questions that I have, which i would really appreciate someone's answer on:

Can they sedate you for the scan?
how long does an entire back scan take? (without contrast i think)

thanks in advance!


  • Yes ask your doctor for a couple of nerve pills. Take those 20 to 30 minutes before the MRI and you should be fine. Test should take bout 30 minutes. I'm extremely claustrophobic and take the meds and works fine for me.
  • The hard part for me was laying still because I was still in substantial pain at that point. I just had a lumbar scan.

    The machine I was in was very noisy, so they offered either earplugs or earphones with music. Maybe some calming music might help you too?
  • Look around for a stand up MRI place and go there. I was able to just sit in a chair while the MRI was done and my Dr. was happy with the results. He usually sends me to only places that he knows does good work. I was out of state at the time so I went to the Stand Up place. Home run for me. It used to be that the open MRI and stand up places didn't give good images but that doesn't seem to be the case any more. I had to travel 30 miles to get to one.

  • A full spine MRI generally takes between 45-60 mins.

    If you are claustrophobic, let them know and they can give you something to help you relax.

    Also, take a CD of music that will help you to relax with you. They can often play it into the headphones for you, but not always, so be ready for that.

    I have had several MRIs (had a brain MRI today). I no longer get worried about them, and was very relaxed today. Although there isn't much space in the scanner, remember that jusst above your head there is an opening. You can't see it, but it is there.

    You will have a panic button in your hand and they will talk to you between each spell of scanning.
    It is VERY noisy inside, but don't worry, it is supposed to be. Close your eyes and think of being somewhere lovely.

    I hope that you will cope well.

  • I used to hate MRI's too - eventually got over it.

    It will take about one hour to do the whole spine. I found the key is - close your eyes & have your head covered WELL before you go in the machine, preferably with your favorite radio station in on the headphones. Keeping your arms tucked in tight too- so you never feel them touch the sides helps.
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