MRI scans aren’t always as rapid as some patients anticipate. There isn’t much patients can do to pass the time other than nap through the process with little room for movement. However, the hum of a scanner may not permit even a few minutes of shut-eye. Fortunately, open scanners create a more comfortable experience by enabling patients to listen to some tunes.
Most patients don’t realize that neurology plays a significant role in understanding and appreciating music. If your patients love to zone out to their favorite artist while undergoing an MRI scan, impart some of these mind-blowing facts about music and the brain.
Fact 1 – We Love Music Because it’s Euphoric
Think about your favorite song—does it incite positive emotions? If so, that’s because it arouses feelings of craving and elation. The way patients react to music depends on how the brain processes the tune.
Fact 2 – Some People Don’t Like Music
Nowadays, you’ll be hard-pressed to meet someone who doesn’t enjoy music. However, this one in a million chance is certainly possible. Some individuals are averse to music because of brain connectivity and negative reward response.
Another fun fact—researchers learned this through an MRI scan.
Fact 3 – Musicians React Differently to MRI Scans
Musically talented individuals demonstrate an increased cognitive response when undergoing an MRI or CT scan. Researchers once evaluated the legendary Sting’s neural response during an fMRI scan while blasting different music genres.
According to the study, The Police headliner is more finely attuned to tempo, pitch, and composition than the average layman.
Fact 4 – Relaxing Songs Can Reduce Stress Levels
According to another study, relaxing music can reduce stress levels when undergoing a lengthy scan. However, what constitutes relaxing, to begin with? The study found that “Weightless” by Marconi Union decreased stress levels in patients by up to 65%.
How to Keep Your Patients Calm During an MRI Scan
Now that you know the positive impact of music during an MRI scan, it’ll only make sense to recommend it while your patients undergo evaluation. Other ways to keep claustrophobic patients calm during a scan are:
- Get Them to Breathe
As a defense mechanism, claustrophobic patients may attempt to hold their breath while undergoing a scan—discourage them from doing this. One of the most effective methods of relaxation is to control one’s breathing.
Breathing allows individuals to clear their minds. Speak to your patients, counting to 10 as they breathe in and out. Encourage slow breathing to incite a calm state of mind.
- Bring in a Friend or Family Member
Along with their favorite tune, allow a friend or family member to talk your patient through the scan and provide emotional support. Hearing a familiar voice can put even the most frantic patients at ease.
- Provide a Sleeping Mask
Chances are, your patients will have their eyes closed as they undergo the scan. However, they may not be able to resist the temptation of peeking. If it’ll help ease the mind, provide a sleeping mask for the duration of the scan.
- Allow Them to Take Medication
Some patients will only agree to undergo a scan if they can take a sedative beforehand. Consult with their primary care physician before handing them a tranquilizer.
- Remind Your Patients Why They’re There
Patients are likely to undergo an MRI scan to pinpoint root causes for pre-existing or newly-discovered conditions. Remind panicked individuals that the scan will help direct their future treatment and that it exists to better their health.
Not every patient will be comfortable in a tight space—particularly during an MRI scan. With a little bit of music and some meditation, you can successfully calm your patients while facilitating a scan.
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