How can I be less anxious about my MRI with contrast?

Posted by cookiepic @cookiepic, Jan 7 6:24pm

I am scheduled for an mri on the 17th. I am nervous about laying there for 45 mintues or more with Degenerative disc disease with my neck but also the contrast element. Is it safe? I'm a Google reader which is bad so l have read pros and cons.

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@hmccarth5

I choose a standing MRI and if I need regular, I will surely need a medication to knock me out somewhat. Why can't people be put to sleep during this procedure??? Men can go to the moon, but this is a no, no……why???

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Never heard of standing mri

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@gator123

Never heard of standing mri

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I lived in KY. and went to Nashville, TN. for my arm. I guess it doesnt work for every ailment/situation and they are far/few in between also. Most doctors know where to go to get in on one.

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@hopeful33250

@cookiepic It was great to be able to support you through your experience! I'm so glad that you found the support you need and you can rest easy, now. I'm looking forward to tagging you when others come to Connect with the same anxiety about an MRI.

As Colleen, @colleenyoung, mentioned, what tips would you give to others who fear this experience?

As you are comfortable doing so when you get the results of your MRI, will you update me?

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@cookiepic @hopeful33250 @jetsetter @becsbuddy @artscaping All of you may be interested in another discussion about facing fears of medical procedures that came about because of an MRI when I was in a discussion with another member. I worked through a lot of fear myself when I went through spine surgery, and it taught me a great life lesson. I had also been interviewed on a podcast about this, and the video of that podcast is at the beginning of this discussion. It really is important to talk about fear. Make friends with your fears, and get to know why it is there.

Here is our discussion "How can I defeat my anxiety about medical tests and surgery?"
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/how-can-i-defeat-my-anxiety-about-medical-tests-and-surgery/
What strategies can you think of that will help ease your fears?

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@jenniferhunter

@cookiepic @hopeful33250 @jetsetter @becsbuddy @artscaping All of you may be interested in another discussion about facing fears of medical procedures that came about because of an MRI when I was in a discussion with another member. I worked through a lot of fear myself when I went through spine surgery, and it taught me a great life lesson. I had also been interviewed on a podcast about this, and the video of that podcast is at the beginning of this discussion. It really is important to talk about fear. Make friends with your fears, and get to know why it is there.

Here is our discussion "How can I defeat my anxiety about medical tests and surgery?"
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/how-can-i-defeat-my-anxiety-about-medical-tests-and-surgery/
What strategies can you think of that will help ease your fears?

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@jenniferhunter I like your phrase "Make friends of your fears…" That is a great thought. I'm looking forward to the podcast!

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@jenniferhunter

@cookiepic @hopeful33250 @jetsetter @becsbuddy @artscaping All of you may be interested in another discussion about facing fears of medical procedures that came about because of an MRI when I was in a discussion with another member. I worked through a lot of fear myself when I went through spine surgery, and it taught me a great life lesson. I had also been interviewed on a podcast about this, and the video of that podcast is at the beginning of this discussion. It really is important to talk about fear. Make friends with your fears, and get to know why it is there.

Here is our discussion "How can I defeat my anxiety about medical tests and surgery?"
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/how-can-i-defeat-my-anxiety-about-medical-tests-and-surgery/
What strategies can you think of that will help ease your fears?

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I still have difficulty facing my fears. Only thing l can say is as fearful as l get about medical procedures l can say l face my fears by getting whatever tests l need. I feel it's better to get answers then have constant fear of not knowing.
Today l got my mri results and thank God all came back good. Other thing that showed was mild aging small vessel white matter. Doctor said it comes with age. So l felt that fear of not knowing disappear. I told her l believe my balance issue is not only from slight ear issue but from my DDD of the neck. Now l have to decide whether to keep my neurologist appt for my neck. I've gone to orthopedic who diagnosed my DDD. Any suggestions?

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@cookiepic

I still have difficulty facing my fears. Only thing l can say is as fearful as l get about medical procedures l can say l face my fears by getting whatever tests l need. I feel it's better to get answers then have constant fear of not knowing.
Today l got my mri results and thank God all came back good. Other thing that showed was mild aging small vessel white matter. Doctor said it comes with age. So l felt that fear of not knowing disappear. I told her l believe my balance issue is not only from slight ear issue but from my DDD of the neck. Now l have to decide whether to keep my neurologist appt for my neck. I've gone to orthopedic who diagnosed my DDD. Any suggestions?

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@cookiepic
I agree that knowledge is power, and understanding an issue helps eliminate the fear of not knowing. I researched and learned a lot about spine surgery and different spine problems before I had surgery and I knew what choices I could have for surgery and recovery. I had a compressed spinal cord, and the only fix for that is surgery if it is advanced enough to start causing a functional problem, so I began my journey with that fear because I knew I would have to face major surgery. There actually was a lot to my pattern of fearing medical events throughout my life and I addressed them all and figured out where the fears came from and how it was still affecting me with the same reactive pattern, and even though I was grown up, but not fully aware of that connection. Deprogramming all of that set me free. You do have a choice in how you react to fear. If you try to avoid it, you never do escape it, so it's best to figure out why it has a grip on you. This was life changing and I am a much more confident person in all of my life now.

What is the reason that you would cancel an appointment with a neurologist? Are you experiencing pain from an unknown source? Is this part of diagnosing a potential spine issue? I can tell you that everyone has changes to their spine with aging, and just because a doctor tells you there are degenerating discs doesn't automatically mean that you need surgery. Spine surgery is meant to prevent further damage and maintain function. It is something to check out because an advanced spine problem can also cause disability or paralysis.

A neurologist will look for nerves that don't function properly. The speed of conducting electrical impulses may be slowed because of pressure on the nerve, or there may be no signal conducted at all if there has been an injury. They will also rule out other diseases that can affect nerves to help in diagnosing a problem as a physical issue involving the mechanics of the spine instead of a disease like MS which affects nerve function. Nerve conduction tests can be a bit painful and I needed to have a mental strategy to get through them, but I did get through them, and then had surgery that gave me my life back, so it was all worth it in the end.

Did your orthopedic surgeon give you any specific diagnosis other than DDD? What was the reason they referred you to a neurologist? Will you take your MRI for the neurologist to discuss with you?

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@cookiepic

I wish you the best of luck and l send my prays. God is good and l believe he helps us.
Fear and anxiety is the worse. Today someone says to me now l have to worry about the results of my mri. My first thought was fear and anxiety. Then l sat back and said this is why l went for the mri to get results so no I'm not allowing my anxiety to get to me.
I know you will be fine. You made your decision and all any of of us can do is be hopeful that it helps with whatever we decide to do. Please lmk how it went.

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Hello, I wanted to share that I got through the facet joint injections today with flying colors. The doctor injected C3 and C4 with numbing agent and a steroid. She also explained that she uses a tiny bit (.1 cc) of contrast dye to make sure the joint is open for the medicine. Or something to that effect.

They gave me a Valium to chew up right before I went in to the procedure. That definitely helped my anxiety, although I was not that anxious today because I had prepared for this for so long. Passed a small chapel in the hospital on my way down to outpatient surgery, so I went in, said a prayer, then went to sign in.

Slept all the way home (over an hour away), ate a good breakfast and then took about a 3 hour nap. Neck still hurts but the doctor told me it can take a week or two for the steroid to take full effect and said she hoped I had some relief. Let’s hope,

Thanks for your support,
Laurie

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@jenniferhunter

@cookiepic
I agree that knowledge is power, and understanding an issue helps eliminate the fear of not knowing. I researched and learned a lot about spine surgery and different spine problems before I had surgery and I knew what choices I could have for surgery and recovery. I had a compressed spinal cord, and the only fix for that is surgery if it is advanced enough to start causing a functional problem, so I began my journey with that fear because I knew I would have to face major surgery. There actually was a lot to my pattern of fearing medical events throughout my life and I addressed them all and figured out where the fears came from and how it was still affecting me with the same reactive pattern, and even though I was grown up, but not fully aware of that connection. Deprogramming all of that set me free. You do have a choice in how you react to fear. If you try to avoid it, you never do escape it, so it's best to figure out why it has a grip on you. This was life changing and I am a much more confident person in all of my life now.

What is the reason that you would cancel an appointment with a neurologist? Are you experiencing pain from an unknown source? Is this part of diagnosing a potential spine issue? I can tell you that everyone has changes to their spine with aging, and just because a doctor tells you there are degenerating discs doesn't automatically mean that you need surgery. Spine surgery is meant to prevent further damage and maintain function. It is something to check out because an advanced spine problem can also cause disability or paralysis.

A neurologist will look for nerves that don't function properly. The speed of conducting electrical impulses may be slowed because of pressure on the nerve, or there may be no signal conducted at all if there has been an injury. They will also rule out other diseases that can affect nerves to help in diagnosing a problem as a physical issue involving the mechanics of the spine instead of a disease like MS which affects nerve function. Nerve conduction tests can be a bit painful and I needed to have a mental strategy to get through them, but I did get through them, and then had surgery that gave me my life back, so it was all worth it in the end.

Did your orthopedic surgeon give you any specific diagnosis other than DDD? What was the reason they referred you to a neurologist? Will you take your MRI for the neurologist to discuss with you?

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My orthopedic doctor just did 2 xrays and said l have DDD in my neck with C5,6 and 7 compressed. He had me go to therapy which did loosen my neck up some. He said surgery would be the last resort. It was my decision to try to get answers about my balance issue. My ENT started with vng test and then mri. So now l thought neurologist might be my next step. I intend to take mri to the appt. I'm sure he would have called for one anyway. I suppose to go on Feb 2nd.

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@cookiepic

My orthopedic doctor just did 2 xrays and said l have DDD in my neck with C5,6 and 7 compressed. He had me go to therapy which did loosen my neck up some. He said surgery would be the last resort. It was my decision to try to get answers about my balance issue. My ENT started with vng test and then mri. So now l thought neurologist might be my next step. I intend to take mri to the appt. I'm sure he would have called for one anyway. I suppose to go on Feb 2nd.

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@cookiepic I did have balance issues from my spine problem. I was having muscle spasms that would independently twist my upper vertebrae. If C1 & C2 were twisted, it caused dizziness. I had looked upward and caused vertigo. My physical therapist could resolve that by realigning my spine. My C5/C6 was collapsed about 50%, and I had spinal cord compression from the disc and the bone spurs that surrounded it. Spine surgery is a big step. I think a neurology consult is a good idea. A good physical therapist can also buy you some time for awhile.

Several years ago, I had a spine surgery consult on Feb 2nd which is Ground Hog Day, so of course I imagined the surgeon popping through the door like the groundhog who comes out of his house to predict the weather. I hope that made you smile and anytime you get nervous you can just imagine Dr. Groundhog! Would you be able to share what you find out from the neurologist?

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@jenniferhunter

@cookiepic @hopeful33250 @jetsetter @becsbuddy @artscaping All of you may be interested in another discussion about facing fears of medical procedures that came about because of an MRI when I was in a discussion with another member. I worked through a lot of fear myself when I went through spine surgery, and it taught me a great life lesson. I had also been interviewed on a podcast about this, and the video of that podcast is at the beginning of this discussion. It really is important to talk about fear. Make friends with your fears, and get to know why it is there.

Here is our discussion "How can I defeat my anxiety about medical tests and surgery?"
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/how-can-i-defeat-my-anxiety-about-medical-tests-and-surgery/
What strategies can you think of that will help ease your fears?

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I read your story and it was beautiful to read. And the painting was exquisite. You were very lucky to find a compasinate, caring doctor. Today that's not so easy.

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@cookiepic

I read your story and it was beautiful to read. And the painting was exquisite. You were very lucky to find a compasinate, caring doctor. Today that's not so easy.

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@cookiepic Thank you so much for your kind words. The painting was a gift from my heart because of how much it meant to me to regain the ability to do paintings again, and it was the mountain I needed to climb in my recovery. My surgeon was very appreciative and it was fun to see him get excited about the painting.

If you are seeking a compassionate doctor, you will find a lot of them at Mayo in many specialties. Honestly, everyone who saw me at Mayo was kind and compassionate, and not in a hurry. It makes you feel like they are happy to see you as a person, and not just an appointment to finish. That really is what sets them apart from other places, and you will find a multidisciplinary team all focused on putting the needs of the patient first and figuring out if other health issues may be influencing the current problem. That is what made Mayo what it is today and a standard of excellence in research. When I broke my ankle, all I had to do was ask my Mayo spine surgeon, and he found a great orthopedic surgeon for me, and they reached out to me the same day and I had an appointment scheduled in a couple days for surgery. At that time, I had an external cage attached to my leg and foot to stabilize it for a couple weeks, and needed a surgeon to put the bones back together.

I had been seen by 5 other spine surgeons before I came to Mayo, and all of them missed understanding the symptoms related to the diagnosis. All of them ignored crucial clues. One was very dismissive, another was arrogant and running out of the room to avoid answering questions. I wasted 2 years chasing surgeons who wouldn't help me and all the while the compression of my spinal cord was getting worse. All of them could see that on the imaging, but they didn't understand my case and didn't want to get involved. I wish I had come to Mayo first, and I'm glad that the others refused me because I had a compassionate gifted surgeon at Mayo in Rochester. I also had a choice at Mayo that the others would not have considered which was a single level fusion without hardware, just a bone graft. That was the right choice for me, and I wanted to avoid the possibility of immune responses to surgical hardware. I stayed in a neck brace 3 months while it healed.

You certainly could get another opinion at Mayo about your spine. Surgery is a big step, and getting multiple opinions is good because you learn a lot and can compare and make an educated choice in your care.

If you want to request an appointment at any of the Mayo campuses, you may user this link. http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63 .

Also at Mayo, there is no financial incentive for doing surgery and the doctor is paid a salary which is the same; surgery or not. Doctors at Mayo are employees, not owners and decisions are made without a financial bias of profitability for the surgeon. Would you consider seeking another opinion for your spine at one of the Mayo campuses?

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@jenniferhunter

@cookiepic
I agree that knowledge is power, and understanding an issue helps eliminate the fear of not knowing. I researched and learned a lot about spine surgery and different spine problems before I had surgery and I knew what choices I could have for surgery and recovery. I had a compressed spinal cord, and the only fix for that is surgery if it is advanced enough to start causing a functional problem, so I began my journey with that fear because I knew I would have to face major surgery. There actually was a lot to my pattern of fearing medical events throughout my life and I addressed them all and figured out where the fears came from and how it was still affecting me with the same reactive pattern, and even though I was grown up, but not fully aware of that connection. Deprogramming all of that set me free. You do have a choice in how you react to fear. If you try to avoid it, you never do escape it, so it's best to figure out why it has a grip on you. This was life changing and I am a much more confident person in all of my life now.

What is the reason that you would cancel an appointment with a neurologist? Are you experiencing pain from an unknown source? Is this part of diagnosing a potential spine issue? I can tell you that everyone has changes to their spine with aging, and just because a doctor tells you there are degenerating discs doesn't automatically mean that you need surgery. Spine surgery is meant to prevent further damage and maintain function. It is something to check out because an advanced spine problem can also cause disability or paralysis.

A neurologist will look for nerves that don't function properly. The speed of conducting electrical impulses may be slowed because of pressure on the nerve, or there may be no signal conducted at all if there has been an injury. They will also rule out other diseases that can affect nerves to help in diagnosing a problem as a physical issue involving the mechanics of the spine instead of a disease like MS which affects nerve function. Nerve conduction tests can be a bit painful and I needed to have a mental strategy to get through them, but I did get through them, and then had surgery that gave me my life back, so it was all worth it in the end.

Did your orthopedic surgeon give you any specific diagnosis other than DDD? What was the reason they referred you to a neurologist? Will you take your MRI for the neurologist to discuss with you?

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I am keeping appointment with neurologist to see what he says about my neck as a 2nd opinion. My pain is not that bad. I can manage. What l want to see if l can help with is the off balance l get when I'm in a neck flair up. Hopefully l will get answers from him. Orthopedic doctor said surgery is a last resort.

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