By in Health & Fitness

First Experience Having an MRI Scan

I've been experiencing a peculiar (for me) type of headache when I work out at the fitness center. I talked to the trainer there about the headaches, but not being a medical person, she advised me to discuss it with my health care provider.

I did just that, self-diagnosing that the cause of the headaches must be heart and/or blood pressure related. Well, you know what they say about a doctor who treats himself -- although in this case I am merely a nurse -- but the same principle applies. My health care provider explained that there are actually headaches associated with physical activity, called exertion headaches.

Combined with a history of migraine headaches and the fact that this particular type of headache only occurs when I am exercising means I may well be experiencing exertion headaches. A CT scan or MRI scan would be needed to first rule out any physical abnormalities in my head that could be the cause of the pain.

With a fair amount of trepidation I went this morning to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of my head. I am both claustrophobic and anxious, so I wasn't at all sure I would tolerate being placed in a small tube and surrounded by lights and sounds. I practiced imagining myself successfully tolerating the test on my drive to the facility, forbidding negative thoughts from surfacing.

The technician was courteous and professional, explaining that the test would take 16 minutes, then I would be on my way. She covered my eyes with a washcloth and I kept my eyes closed so as not to be able to see the rounded walls around me. The MRI machine makes some interesting noises as it works, but the ear plugs provided did a good job of making the sound level tolerable.

I'm happy to report I tolerated the test like a seasoned professional. : ) Results should be available no later than mid-week next. I'm hoping I'll be able to report that all is well.

- - -#ExertionHeadache -

Image Credit » by toubibe

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wolfgirl569 wrote on September 25, 2015, 8:24 PM

Glad you were able to finish the test and hope everything comes back clear

markgraham wrote on September 25, 2015, 8:39 PM

Too bad it wasn't an open MRI. I am also a licensed practical nurse and helped many a psychiatric patient through this procedure. Talk about anxiety.

VinceSummers wrote on September 25, 2015, 9:04 PM

Sounds like a limited test, as most of mine take more than a half hour.

Feisty56 wrote on September 25, 2015, 9:12 PM

Thank you -- I appreciate the good thoughts.

Feisty56 wrote on September 25, 2015, 9:14 PM

An open MRI machine was there, but the tech suggested we try to closed machine first as it was the better of the two.

ViperGirl85 wrote on September 25, 2015, 9:22 PM

I'm glad you got through the test, and I hope everything turns out okay and your doctor can treat your headaches!

I had an MRI when I was 11, after I had fainted, and I remember being nervous about it too.

Feisty56 wrote on September 25, 2015, 9:38 PM

Yes, this was ordered without contrast dye, so it went quickly.

missfortune wrote on September 25, 2015, 10:56 PM

I have had a couple of these over the past three years, some places are a little nicer / more modern than others. I always dreaded asking how long it would take, sometimes its better not knowing and trying to fall asleep

Paulie wrote on September 25, 2015, 11:28 PM

I have never had an MRI, but I did have a CT scan right before my kidney operation. Did you get an injection of any kind of dye during the MRI? I had an IV of some dye during my CAT scan. I hope your results are good and normal.

cheri wrote on September 26, 2015, 12:14 AM

I also had my MRI before my brain surgery and it was also the first time. I hope that your results are clear unlike mine

CoralLevang wrote on September 26, 2015, 2:58 AM

I am glad that you got through your MRI like a champ. I have had more of these and CT, and PET scans than I care to have in the last three years. Each time, I still have a few "issues," but they are lessening.
I hope they find out what is causing these headaches of yours, and that it's NOT all in your head, in this case. emoticon :winking:


bestwriter wrote on September 26, 2015, 4:46 AM

Any test even checking the BP does make us feel uncomfortable and anxious. Hope you will be satisfied with the diagnosis.

Kasman wrote on September 26, 2015, 5:24 AM

When I had a recent MRI scan I was offered headphones and a selection of music to listen to during the procedure! I (jokingly) asked for some AC/DC but ended up with ABBA!

LoudMan wrote on September 26, 2015, 6:35 AM

I'm not even claustrophobic and I hate MRIs . So, I can only imagine how you felt. Although I found it very uncomfortable, the two times I've done them, I still found the idea fascinating and love to hear the tech explaining the details of what's going on. Here's to not a single thing being wrong.

LoudMan wrote on September 26, 2015, 6:36 AM

Did you sing along to Group ABBA?

AngelSharum wrote on September 26, 2015, 7:16 PM

Glad it wasn't too bad on you. I hope the results are good. I had my first MRI last year.

paigea wrote on September 26, 2015, 10:40 PM

I am glad the the test was tolerable. I now think I could tolerate it as well.

AliCanary wrote on September 27, 2015, 4:57 PM

I think as long as you can keep your eyes closed and imagine yourself running through a sunny meadow, it would be a piece of cake. Hope the results show no issues.

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:29 PM

Thanks, ViperGirl85. I can imagine it was anxiety-provoking for a child of 11. As an adult, I would have hoped to me less anxious than I was, but it's my nature.

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:30 PM

The tech I had was very experienced. She knew the best way to handle those who are claustrophobic -- I imagine she's dealt with many over the years. I didn't ask how long it would take -- she volunteered the info. : )

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:32 PM

This MRI was ordered without contrast, so no dye used. Thank you, Paulie , for your well-wishes.

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:33 PM

cheri , I'm sorry. I didn't realize you've undergone brain surgery. Is everything clear now?

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:34 PM

Thank you, &VisionofHope . I hope all goes well for your mother, too.

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:37 PM

I can't imagine going through all of those tests, but you have to do what you have to do. I was doing okay for a few moments, until I tried to call out to the tech. She didn't answer me, which caused me great concern as she said she'd be able to see and hear me throughout the test. I finally buzzed the little buzzer and them she came. I was okay after that, but whew, what an adrenaline rush!

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:39 PM

Thank you, bestwriter . There are a lot of people who have what is termed "white coat syndrome," meaning they become anxious just being at a medical facility, let alone any procedures.

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:40 PM

And they say the American health care system is the finest in the world! No headphones, no music for me. (I sang tunes in my head, though)

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:43 PM

Thanks LoudMan . It would all be very interesting -- if it was happening to someone else. Clinically, I get it, but as soon as I am personally involved, it's another story.

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:45 PM

Thank you &AbbyG . I wonder why you had the neck pain afterwards? Did you have the contrast dye used with yours?

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:54 PM

Thank you. : ) How did you do having the procedure? Were your results helpful?

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:56 PM

Thank you. : ) I kept my thoughts on other things during the entire test, from song lyrics to trying to make music in my mind to the rhythm of the machine.

Feisty56 wrote on September 27, 2015, 10:59 PM

Thank for the well wishes. I tried to imagine my favorite soothing scene -- the shoreline, with the water quietly lapping on the beach -- but the noise of the machine intruded. It sounds like you are at an excavation site, so then I zoned in on the rhythms. I think it is about concentrating on anything but your anxiety.

cheri wrote on September 28, 2015, 5:01 AM

Yes it is. It has been 6 months already and I am doing great. Thanks.

AngelSharum wrote on September 28, 2015, 12:36 PM

I did fine. I could still see light and stuff in the machine they used. The noises were still loud even with the headphones. I didn't care for their My MRI and MRA were both clean, no problems at all. Didn't show a cause there for my headaches so the neurologist finally agreed with me that they are fibro related.

Feisty56 wrote on September 28, 2015, 3:18 PM

I'm relieved to learn that all is well for you now. I certainly hope that continues to be true for a very long time.

Feisty56 wrote on September 28, 2015, 3:19 PM

Thankfully there wasn't such a pillow when I had my test. I am sure that was a nagging annoyance post-procedure.

Feisty56 wrote on September 28, 2015, 3:21 PM

It had to be a relief that the test results came back clean for both tests, although it doesn't help much to diminish the actual pain.

AngelSharum wrote on September 28, 2015, 3:23 PM

I was really glad nothing showed up. My dad died from a brain tumor and my grandfather from an aneurysm so I have family history of bad things.

BarbRad wrote on September 28, 2015, 7:07 PM

I'm an MRI veteran, but I'm still not used to it. The hardest part for me is staying still - especially if I get a foot cramp. Hope the results don't show anything to be concerned about.

Feisty56 wrote on September 28, 2015, 9:13 PM

Thank you, BarbRad . No, I can't imagine trying to be still with a cramp or charley horse.

lexiconlover wrote on September 30, 2015, 1:17 PM

Glad you were able to complete it. Have you gotten any words back on the results on the test? I did a MRI when I was hospitiilized for menigitis, and that's an adventure I don't care to repeat anytime soon.